Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Posts tagged ‘five-mans’

Time Warp

I recognize this strange feeling of vertigo because it’s happened once before. Somehow, patch 4.0 managed to coincide with our last vacation. This time, 4.2 did the same! We don’t take many vacations, so I don’t know why this keeps happening, but there you have it. It’s always strange to come back after changes like these because you’re discovering them after the fact and any exclamations you might have are quite moot. Everyone else is “Been there, done that.” If you’re me, you end up asking confused questions such as, “Where in the heck did my guild tab go, why does some random person think my hard-earned keys are only worth two gold, and who put the giant portraits on the dungeon maps?”

It’s been a hectic few days.

Our vacation, I’m happy to report, was excellent in all ways. We had a chance to walk around Vancouver, eat great food (key to any vacation in my books), as well as mingle with Canada Day crowds on Granville Island, meet a long-time guildie and his fiancee, and even see fireworks. Of course, the highlight of the trip for me was definitely the reason we went in the first place: seeing Rush live for the first time on their Time Machine tour. I had heard they put on a good show, but I was Not Prepared. Here’s one of the videos I took. I’m uploading more (some folks on Twitter asked me to) but for right now this one will do! We had really good seats.

Meeting Awesome WoW Folks

We’ve known our priestly (formerly hunterly) friend Zierlyn for, oh – around two years now! We played with him on our original server. We raided Naxx and later Ulduar (and Naxx again, it’s a long story) together. He was one of the folks I sorely missed when we left, and was quick to snap up when we saw the opportunity for him to come to Business Time. Unfortunately his schedule doesn’t allow raiding but I still love being in a guild with him and it was so awesome to meet him and his fiancee. We went to the library, and to Granville Island, and later to an all-you-can-eat sushi/Korean BBQ place (and much later, to Denny’s, one of the few places that will let you nurse a single drink for hours and not really care about the space you’re taking up). I wish we lived closer so we could hang out more often. Still, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth and I was very happy to have the opportunity. I’ve never actually met specifically someone I met through WoW before, so this was completely new. At one point we were driving along in the car (I was in the back) and I was just listening to Z talk and it was so weird because I know his voice! But it wasn’t coming through a microphone. But now I know him in person too! This is as articulate as I’m able to be on the subject. I can’t describe how cool it is to meet someone you “know” and get to know them all over again, but I’m sure those of you who’ve had the experience know just what I mean.

After our trip was over, we made a point of staying a night in Rade’s city so that we could meet him, too. Rades is one of my closest online cohorts and I was equal parts nervous and excited to meet him. What if we didn’t get along in person! What if it was weird? I needn’t have worried, because it was totally natural. He even had a really nerdy sign made for us so we wouldn’t miss him. “Welcome Vid and Voss!” Again, I only wish he lived closer so we could all hang out more often.

I have also had questions about the status of Rades’ tusks and green skin. Well, folks, I have an inside scoop for you. Rades is not, as is popularly believed, an orc. No, I have uncovered his true identity. He’s a robot.

Proof.

Specifically, it seems he’s an Autobot. I found several indicators. I’m surprised, I always thought he’d be a Decepticon. I did make a point of drawing everyone I met, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing the images of folks without their consent so hopefully other pictures of random things will be able to suffice. We did also do this:

Unfortunately, our raid on ICC didn't go exactly as planned...

This, for clarification, is a special edition of the WoW TCG that Voss and I picked up in a comic store on our trip. ICC Raid edition! It has pre-made decks intended for use by four players. One person plays the Big Bad himself, the Lich King – and the other folks play Jaina, Tirion, and Sylvanas respectively. We only had the three of us so Rades and I shared responsibility for Tirion. All did not go according to plan. The LK deck, as it happens, needs to be ridiculously powerful in order to counteract the efforts of three other players. Which is great! Except none of us had ever played before and Rades and I made some key tactical errors, resulting in Fordring’s death. We managed to get LK only down to about 20 HP (from 60) before we were overwhelmed. I think if we played again we’d stand a much better chance because now we know how stuff works. I’ve only recently been dabbling in the WoW TCG anyway; I’d like to play it some more. It was pretty fun! I think that building a deck around your own hero would be rewarding.

If only we could get geography to comply, then I think we could clear ICC properly! We DID manage to kill Sindragosa, though, and that was a victory we both relished. Hey, I’ll take what we can get! Sadly, our time with Rades was all too short, culminating in many hours spent at Denny’s (yes, Denny’s again) talking about anything and everything and eating a very late-night breakfast. I think the biggest revelation of the evening was just how truly evil the man I married really is. Folks, I am married to the Lich King. The man enjoyed killing our heroes so much. He has no soul.

Playing Catch-Up

I neglected the blog woefully while we were gone, but I think you all were so busy seeing Firelands that you probably didn’t notice! We got back on Sunday and were able to squeeze in dailies before the day rolled over, so I’ve been trying to get up to speed on those. I really enjoyed the lead-in quests (no spoilers!) Then yesterday, in typical “all-or-nothing” fashion, I ran seven heroics so I could cap my valor points for the week. Success! I also happened to score the bracers from Zul’Aman, finally. It took about 16-18 runs all-told, so I suppose that’s not too bad. And I was able to cap my points, which was the important thing. Tonight is our first raid of the new content, and I am excited! I’m sure I’ll have more to say about Firelands (again, long after everyone else has already said it) once I’ve seen it.

I did pay for and enjoy mobile guild chat and the mobile AH while we were on our trip. I managed to make a bit of money with gems I’d pre-cut before I left, but again I missed out on the ridiculous AH rush of a new patch. Regardless, it was nice to be able to pop in and chat for a bit during downtimes of the vacation and it made me feel less disconnected now that we’re finally home.

Let’s not talk about all the blog posts I missed while I was away, though. I may just have to call those a loss and mark everything as read. I’ve missed commenting on my favourites, but trust me, it’s not you, it’s me!

Further Adventures in Troll Land

For reasons that will be the subject of another post at some point in time, lately when I pug I’ve been pugging as a mage. It increases the wait times significantly and it’s often the result of insomnia. Last night I was fishing and when my LFD window appeared I was surprised. I had completely forgotten I was even in the queue! The pug started off poorly, which I actually prefer. If a pug is going to fall apart within the first few bosses, it’s nice to know.

This pug had a tank with other important things to do. So he stood there, and stood there for about five minutes before he finally started moving or responding to greetings. “Sec,” he said, and continued to stand there. Finally, mercifully, we killed the first troll and he began to run through the hornets and then promptly died. The hornets killed everyone, and the tank made some sound of confusion in party chat.

“You fell off the bridge,” the hunter told him. We all run back in, this time killing the hornets. I figure, hey, everyone makes a clumsy move sometime. Except then the tank stops moving again. “One sec,” he says. The healer drops group. We get another healer immediately and we’re moving onto the next actual troll in the instance. Somehow a hornet joins this fight and eats the healer while the tank blithely keeps “tanking.” The shaman healer uses his ankh and the tank pulls the next trash before he’s even moved off the bridge. We all die horribly. I don’t do this often, but I initiate a vote-kick on Mr. “Defender of A Shattered World.” The reason? “Self-explanatory.” A tank that can’t even make it through the initial Zul’Gurub trash without falling off bridges, AFKing and pulling without his healer is not going to do well.

We get another tank – a paladin – and things go pretty smoothly for awhile. Amazingly we kill the first boss with no deaths, which is fairly unheard of in the ZG pugs I’ve seen. So many things that need avoiding usually kill at least a few people! The raptor boss dies as easily, and we kill the Archaeology boss without occasion for remark. Nobody even dies to the fire gauntlet! It’s all going swimmingly, up until we reach Bethekk (aka the Panther boss). This trash is pretty intense anyway, but some of it is also bugged and will pull through the wall if you use AoE. In a guild group we’ve managed to survive the combination of extra trolls along with existing trolls, but not tonight. We wipe to this trash at least twice, it might have even been three times. Patience seems to be wearing thin quickly judging from the tone in party chat. We apply crowd control liberally to the group at the bottom of the stairs and manage to make it to Bethekk. The actual boss fight is easier than all of this wiping on trash. But the best is yet to come – as we make our way to Zanzil’s area, the tank confesses that he is new to the fight.

Something about saying he hasn’t done it seems to send both the shaman healer and the hunter into a rage spiral. “Oh great,” the hunter says. They give very cursory directions to the tank, amounting to “don’t stand in the fire” and then pull. Somehow, they’re surprised when we wipe.

I can't remember why I took this screenshot, but somehow Millya's making a great "pug expression" for me. She even looks like an insomniac, but that could be my imagination!

The shaman berates the tank for not getting out of fire as quickly as he should, and the tank admits that he was looking down at his ability buttons. Mr. Shamtastic is so busy berating the tank for being terrible, that he stands there typing insults while the tank pulls again – so he’s locked outside of the encounter area, and we all die quickly. Of course, this only makes matters worse as party chat is degenerating into an epic round of the “blame game.” It’s just this shaman’s luck, being stuck with such a fail tank, etc. etc. I interject at this point, “It’s no crime to be new to a fight.” (Thinking of Shintar, I add a smiley at the end.)

“It’s a crime to pull without the healer,” the shaman retorts. I don’t bother to reply. Each mechanic is re-explained for the benefit of the tank, and after approximately four tries (total) we kill him. “The next boss is going to be a bitch,” the hunter grouses. We proceed to the next boss while the shaman and hunter alternate scolding the tank about how he has to do THIS for the last boss and THAT for the last boss or we’ll fail. They seem to be hitting all the relevant explanations so I just let them go on.

The tank assures us that he’s seen the fight, just not tanked it. I add some paladin specific stuff (yes, I tanked it for a pug just the other week! It’s a sickness) mostly related to using Righteous Defense on CD to help keep things from killing the healer. Unfortunately, the tank doesn’t manage to get into the safety bubble quickly enough to avoid the Shadows spell. So we try again. And he fails to do it, again. At this point I can imagine the hunter on the other side of the screen frothing and throwing a fit with his keyboard. But I figure the tank deserves at least a few tries to get this fight right.

“45 mins for these last three bosses!” the hunter rants. The atmosphere in the pug is getting worse, if that’s even possible. Completely contrary to how I would have reacted in his shoes, the tank says, “Let me give it one last try and then I’ll drop group since I’m holding you up, np.” This attempt doesn’t go any better than the previous ones, and we wipe again before even finishing the first phase. The tank drops group wordlessly, and his corpse lies there like a silent testament to the punishing nature of pugs (and perhaps hunters in particular). It doesn’t take long for us to get a replacement tank; this one is a DK that knows the fight and it goes off mostly without a hitch. Every Body Slam hits a chain, which is probably for the best, as I’m sure the hunter would’ve popped a vein in his forehead otherwise.

I guess I am different from many people pugging. I would’ve preferred if the first tank had stayed, figured out the fight and really aced it. But the impatience of the other DPS (and the healer, who was at least as rude) didn’t allow him to do that. The hunter shouted his (expletive) relief when the tank dropped group. In terms of time and money invested, maybe I was a bit relieved too. I’d rather complete a fight than spend a half hour wiping to it. That said, I join pugs fully expecting to wipe and to take much longer than I would if I went with guildies. The next time I look at my thirty minute queue time, I know I have people like that hunter to thank. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to that kind of abuse? Why put yourself in a position where your mistakes will be judged so unforgivably? The answer sure isn’t because of the potential for a mount in a fancy satchel of big fat nothing. (I’ve claimed a few satchels myself, but apparently the loot force is not with me).

Granted, the tank wasn’t entirely without fault here. Before queuing for these instances, he could have prepared himself by reading the fights over quickly. When you put yourself at the mercy of a pug, you want to have all the defense you possibly can – which to me, means not having to rely on them for probably inadequate boss explanations. When the hunter’s explanation of a boss fight amounts to “Stay out of fire and get the red cauldron,” you have to be sure you’re missing something. Even so, there’s no call for treating other people like this. If your time is so valuable, then don’t pug, it’s that simple. Spare the rest of us who are actually willing to patiently work through difficult content with a group of strangers. We recognize that coordinating such a group isn’t always easy, but we’re willing to allow for that. Sometimes you have to wonder if folks like this hunter even remember that it’s a game they are playing – that they’re supposed to be having fun.

Cataclysm Heroic Tips and Strategies for Mages (Part 4)

This is the fourth and final installment in my series of heroic tips and strategies for mages. I know it was a long time coming – raid start hit me pretty hard and I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write this. Better late than never, right? As always, please feel free to add a comment if you have anything to contribute that I’ve neglected to mention!

This is part four in a series of mage-specific heroic Cataclysm instance guides. This part deals with only The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep.

Part one includes some basic instancing strategies, as well as tips for Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. You can find it here.

Part two covers The Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle, and Grim Batol and is located here.

Part three talked about Halls of Origination and Lost City of the Tol’Vir and you can find it here.

These are not the full strategy guides for each instance – only mage-things that may prove useful. This guide assumes that you are familiar with the basic strategy for each encounter. For instance cheat sheets, you can check out the guides a guildie of mine wrote over at Sword and Board.

And now you will have this song stuck in your head, for which I apologize (but it’s so catchy!) “Well, there was this one time…”

Heroic Deadmines

Trash: Pay attention to the Defias Envokers – they have a passive ability up on them called Envoker’s Shield that protects them from most crowd control. You can spellsteal it and then sheep them, which you may be called upon to do.

Later in the instance you will encounter Defias Blood Wizards. They do two useful things – they put a big red bubble on the ground that will give you the buff Ragezone. You will both cause (and take) 50% greater damage. Watch out for if you have the spinning swords around you (or are standing near a companion who has them). These guys also cast a haste buff called Bloodwash that can be spellstolen.

Finally, the Defias Squallshapers on the ramps leading to the ship have an cast you should interrupt called Seaswell. When their health gets low they’ll cast Riptide on themselves. Spellsteal it quickly – it helps your healer and prevents them from healing themselves.

Glubtok

  • This fight is really not very complicated if you just avoid things that are clearly going to hurt you. Phase one has fire and ice patches on the ground. At a predetermined amount of health, he’ll move to the center of the room and conjure a rotating fire wall.
  • The wall moves clockwise, so what you’ll want to do is strafe over to the left side of it and continue to DPS as the wall approaches. Melee DPS can’t do much to Glubtok at this point and the phase includes adds being tanked and more patches of bad things on the ground.
  • I use Time Warp to minimize time spent in this phase – especially if the group has other ranged DPS it should be over pretty quickly.
  • If you do this correctly and never take fire wall damage, you’ll get an achievement – Congratulations, you’re Ready For Raiding!

Helix Gearbreaker

  • This fight begins with killing Helix’s oaf, and then once he’s dead you kill Helix himself. Periodically he’ll jump off the oaf and onto a person or onto the ground.
  • Someone set us up the bomb – you can tell when these are going to explode because the fuses change in appearance. Don’t be near them.
  • If Helix puts a bomb on your chest, stay away from the group so you don’t explode on them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
  • You may have Helix himself jump on your face at some point – you probably shouldn’t panic and run around in circles like I have been known to do (just once!) because the melee people in your group are trying to attack him.
  • The oaf can also pick people up and smash them against the wall – just don’t be in-between them and the wall. If you are the one picked up, unfortunately you can’t Iceblock out of it.

Foe Reaper 5000

  • Someone has to be the DPS controlling the Prototype Reaper. I prefer it not to be me (or other ranged DPS) because we can keep DPSing the boss while melee DPS has to run away from his AoE. Still, if you’re stuck doing it at any point remember to keep yourself between the fire adds and the ramp – your task is to tank them and keep them from the group, and this is a task I cannot advise you in. Next time nobody else gets into the Reaper I’m just going to play dead.
  • The Reaper has two primary abilities – Overdrive (AoE centered on himself) and Harvest. He marks a location on the ground and destroys everything between him and it. Be somewhere else (blink for the hills!) You can still DPS him from a safe distance. You may spend much of this fight doing a bit of running back and forth.
  • Use Time Warp when he enrages (it emotes “Safety Restrictions Off-line!) because this is the toughest time for your tank and healer.

Admiral Ripsnarl

  • Make sure you have nameplates enabled so that you can see any Vapors spawning. Contrary to usual, I save Fire Orb for the first Vapor phase because it provides a convenient passive way to DPS these. Depending on your spec and mana you can AoE to hit them, or single target them – I use Fire Blast and Scorch, myself, but you can use whatever tickles your fancy (and kills them).
  • This can get intense if your DPS are not focusing on the vapors as they spawn – depending on your tank and healer, too many Vapors growing large can and will wipe your group. Make sure you’re not the only one attacking them!
  • Other than vapors, just attack Ripsnarl himself as you are able and he’ll die soon enough.

Captain Cookie

  • You have some options here. Cookie throws out various types of food – it’s either bad (green and with a painful aura) or good food (sparkly and delicious). When you eat the good food you gain one stack of the buff Satiated. This can stack up to 99 times(!). Yes, you read that correctly. Eating bad food will give you the Nauseated debuff.
  • When we do this, we pretty much just ignore the bad food and treat this fight as a DPS race – keep stacking good food to infinity and kill Cookie before your mana runs out. This is harder on the healer though, and you still shouldn’t stand in the green AoE clouds even if you’re ignoring good food.
  • It’s worth noting that to get the I’m On A Diet achievement you do need to get at least one stack of Nauseated, so you will need to eat bad food just once, according to Wowhead commenters.

Vanessa VanCleef

  • This encounter is a gauntlet with a series of challenges. For phase one, you have to dodge fire while running down the Foe Reaper’s ramp. Don’t try to run straight down the ramp, you have to jump off the right side at one point. Use Mage Ward to mitigate some of the damage from either the fire or the ice patches on the ground.
  • Don’t bother with attacking the spiders that spawn – make sure you keep the boss targeted.
  • There’s no magical mage trick to get past the “Mario” portion of this gauntlet, you’re just going to have to edge along around the beams with everyone else. Iceblock does not work here, the beams go straight through it, and Blink is liable to just get you killed. There’s a safe spot to the left where you can group up and wait for people once you’re through.
  • Before the ship is a DPS race with an incredible speed buff – stick with your tank and be careful not to fall off the edge.
  • During the actual encounter with Vanessa many adds will spawn. You can DPS her when she isn’t deflecting, otherwise kill the adds. You’ll remember the Defias Blood Wizards from the trash earlier – they drop a Ragezone and cast Bloodwash so use these tools accordingly (stand in one, spellsteal the other!)
  • Try to position yourself and DPS from a place where you’ll be ready to grab a rope when it spawns, there’s no reason for you to be anywhere else (barring Ragezones).

Heroic Shadowfang Keep

Baron Ashbury

  • This fight depends on coordination of interrupts. Ashbury has several things that must be interrupted. It’s better to talk about this beforehand so you know who is interrupting what. Since our interrupt is on a relatively long cooldown, many groups may assign other interrupters, but be prepared to assume responsibility for one if need be.
  • Pain and Suffering will damage the entire party and also must be interrupted.
  • Approximately every 40-45 seconds, he will Asphyxiate everyone. You can Iceblock out of this.
  • Immediately after Asphyxiation, he will begin to channel Stay of Execution. This heals your party and him – let it tick 1-2 times before interrupting to let your healer get a handle on things. This ability is the objective of an achievement – Pardon Denied. To get the achievement you don’t let him channel the ability at all, so it’s really a challenge for your healer. Make sure you know whether your party is attempting to do this or not before interrupting it, lest you cause an inadvertent wipe!
  • At 25% he enrages and begins to cause unavoidable damage to the party. Use Time Warp here to get it over with quickly.

Baron Silverlaine

  • This guy is really pretty simple as a DPS player. He summons adds that should be killed; I like to spread the damage around with various AoE effects and multiple Living Bombs. A fire mage with a lucky Hot Streak can get lined up to cast Combustion on Silverlaine just before he brings out his first add, so you are doing maximum damage to him at the same time.
  • Be careful not to pull aggro on any of the adds until the tank has a solid threat lead.

Commander Springvale

  • Springvale can be a bit tricky if you haven’t done him before (specifically if you’re trying to get his achievement).
  • Unfortunately, our CC is not useful here, so the only thing we can do (if no Undead CC is available) is to burn his adds as they spawn. One is called a Wailing Guardsman and one is a Tormented Officer. We usually assign DPS to handle each. These adds will attempt to cast Unholy Empowerment, which can and should be interrupted. Especially if your tank is moving out of Desecration, he/she may be unable to interrupt this at range so use that counterspell!
  • Make sure you’re behind him wherever he is being tanked. He does a massive damage AoE frontal cone ability and also puts Desecration on the ground. Don’t stand in either of these and you should be fine.

Lord Walden

  • I have a ridiculous amount of fun during this fight. It’s easy – it’s just a big game of Traffic Light.
  • If there’s a big column of green in the center of the room, don’t stop moving (or as my guildies know, “Hey guys, I’m casting scorch while moving!”)
  • If there’s a big column of red in the center of the room, don’t move. It also grants a tasty crit buff, so go wild!
  • He also drops ice shards but these are largely inconsequential and very easy to dodge.

Lord Godfrey

  • I hear that the curse from Cursed Bullets really hurts. As usual, we can help with that, so make sure you’ve got some easy way to see a cursed friendly player and quickly remove it.
  • Do not stand in front of his Pistol Barrage. Depending on where your tank is facing him this can be pretty easy – I’ve noticed some ranged like to stand at the very edge of the top wall, which is possible but mildly annoying. I tried this the other day and it causes my Flame Orb to just sit there stupidly and then explode. They aren’t smart enough to figure out pathing. Mind you, the damage from the orb is negligible so if you prefer to just stay out of harm’s way it’s certainly an option.

And that concludes the series about heroics for mages! I hope they were helpful to someone out there just getting their feet wet as a fresh mage. If you are more of a veteran and you’ve thought of things I haven’t, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

(p.s. Thank you all for your kind words on my previous post. I have read and really appreciate each and every one. I will be replying to them individually, meantime I didn’t want anyone to think I was just ignoring them, far from it! You are all awesome.)

Cataclysm Heroic Tips and Strategies for Mages (Part 3)

I’m trying to get these out as quickly as I can! I know they are relevant right now, but bear with me. Just one more post after this one will finish them up. Thanks for the feedback and additions on the previous posts, I appreciate them. Remember if you have any tips I’ve forgotten or just haven’t thought of, please leave them in a comment!

This is part three in a series of mage-specific heroic Cataclysm instance guides. This part deals with only Halls of Origination and Lost City of the Tol’Vir.

Part one includes some basic instancing strategies, as well as tips for Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. You can find it here.

Part two covers The Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle, and Grim Batol and is located here.

These are not the full strategy guides for each instance – only mage-things that may prove useful. This guide assumes that you are familiar with the basic strategy for each encounter. For instance cheat sheets, you can check out the guides a guildie of mine wrote over at Sword and Board.

See the one waving his hands in the back? You want what he's having.

Halls of Origination

Trash: You can spellsteal Molten Barrier from the Temple Fireshapers – it increases your spell haste by 50% and also randomly shoots fireballs at nearby targets. Try to be careful where you’re standing once you have this – it can and will break CC. It’s still preferable for you to have it, and not the Temple Fireshaper.

Most of the bosses in HoO can be done in any order, with the exception of Ptah who is only available after Anhuur is killed. Keep in mind that your group may be doing them in a different order than you expect, but you can use Time Warp on one of the last four bosses and have it ready to go by the time you reach the last. I like to use it for Setesh, and then Rajh.

There are four elemental “mini-bosses” that primarily do things you don’t want to stand in.

Earth Warden does a frontal earthquake sort of thing, Fire Warden has flame, etc. Water Warden targets someone to put a water bubble on. DPS this bubble to free your party members – if he targets you with it, you can blink out of it, leaving only a confused, empty water bubble behind. (Tell your party so they don’t waste time trying to free you from a bubble you aren’t in.)

Temple Guardian Anhuur

  • You will be handling either the left or right side, with one other person. Depending on who you’re with, decide who is going to attack snakes and who is going to pull the lever. (Snakes and levers?!)
  • You can slowfall yourself, your partner or both – it’s up to you. I slowfall down and drop a Blast Wave as I’m falling.
  • The snakes hit hard. AoE them and keep them from your partner however you can – to give you both some lead time, you can Frost Nova them and run up the stairs at the end of the phase. You can also put RoF on the stairs or the landing to buy you both some time, if you position well it can be pretty useful.
  • Using Time Warp any time before the end of the fight isn’t necessarily very helpful; since he shields at percentages of his health, you’ll only force his next shield phase sooner. I save it for immediately following the second shield phase.

Earthrager Ptah

  • Make sure to find yourself a camel before this fight! Besides being kind of neat looking (with an entirely implausible jump animation) the camel allows you to cast and move simultaneously.
  • I find that sprinting in circles while avoiding dust clouds, spikes and whirlwind all while cackling madly and flinging fireballs is fun – but not strictly necessary for success.

Anraphet

  • Your task here is to simply DPS him before your healer and tank get overwhelmed by AoE and damage. Accordingly, if Time Warp is available it’s a solid choice to use it for this fight.

Isiset

  • Much like Eadric from ToC, use your mouse’s right button to quickly spin and face away right before she finishes casting Supernova.
  • You can and should spellsteal Veil of Sky from her – it protects from all damage but drains mana instead, much like Mana Shield. The purpose here is to take it from her, not that it’ll necessarily do much for you.
  • Blink away from her laser beams and kill adds. Make sure that you know which of her three aspects your party will be focusing on, especially if you don’t have Ventrilo or similar. Burn down the specified targets, and that’s it!

Ammunae

  • Fire/Frostfire Orb is good to save a few seconds into the fight – if it’s up, it can help you to target spawning seed pods. You can also adapt a macro for this purpose: “/target Seedling Pod” will do it.
  • If this is done right, you shouldn’t ever see a Bloodpetal Blossom, but he will spawn Spores regardless. Kill the spores and don’t stand in the gunk they drop. If for some reason a Bloodpetal was able to spawn, they can be killed by kiting/standing them in this residue.
  • Interrupt Wither if you see him casting it.

Setesh

  • This boss is fun, because the tank isn’t really tanking him. Hit it like you mean it!
  • The biggest thing you have to worry about is attacking his Chaos Portals as soon as possible. If you’re familiar with Lord Jarraxus in ToC, it’s the same thing. Burn them down. Your target macro from Ammunae, re-purposed to “/target Chaos Portal” will serve you well here.
  • When he casts Seed of Chaos, it puts little purple bubbles on the ground. Being in them will hurt you, but also increase your damage output. Don’t overdo it if your healer is struggling, but the buff will help end the fight more quickly.
  • As mentioned above, I like to use Time Warp on this fight. Any time is fine.
  • Any time spent killing adds is wasted time, but you can attempt to use slowing abilities to help your tank if he/she is kiting them. By the end of the fight this can get pretty hectic with adds and explosions and void zones all over the place, so just remember to keep attacking portals, attack Setesh when you can and make it all end quickly.

Rajh

  • First of all, Rajh’s trash has a spellstealable ability. I’m going counter to everything else in these guides by saying:  Do not steal it. The tooltip says that it increases fire damage by 75%. It lies. This ability is currently bugged, and will instead do the exact opposite, decreasing your fire damage by 75%. It also stacks, so it’s possible if you steal this to reduce your damage to next to nothing (if you’re a fire mage).
  • This fight is all about interrupts, and you have one! Use it to interrupt his Inferno Leap and Summon Sun Orb.
  • Save your cooldowns for when he’s casting Blessing of the Sun (if he ever gets that far). Your damage is increased by 100% at this time. Use Time Warp at this point as well.
  • Don’t forget to Mage Ward to help absorb any damage if he’s able to cast his Sun Orb. Almost all of the damage in this fight is fire-based.

Lost City of the Tol’vir

Trash: I like this place because it really doesn’t have too much in the way of complicated trash. You will probably be expected to CC, but the trash generally doesn’t do stupendous things. The only great trash in Lost City is the trash that allows you to do this:

Yes, that's a turtle standing on top of an angry pygmy. Such is the power of Polymorph that they never even noticed. These three-stacks of pygmies are a source of endless amusement, as you can imagine. Bring a mage friend! Make a turtle stack!

General Husam

  • You can tell when traps are going to explode by the pulsing animation – use Blink to stay one step ahead of them.
  • You can’t Iceblock out of being thrown up on the pillar, but you can Iceblock or slowfall to avoid any falling damage.

High Prophet Barim

  • Don’t be caught standing in the Giant Sun Beam Of Doom, but be careful not to blink too close to party members. His Plague of Ages spreads via proximity.
  • Use Time Warp on this fight during his Shadow phase to help end it quickly. Burn the phoenix! We just ignore the smaller adds.

Lockmaw and Augh

  • In the first phase (Lockjaw), be ready to Blink to stay out of whirlwinds or avoid crocs if necessary. AoE the crocs down, they’ll come snapping at whoever has the red arrow over their head. Especially if this is your healer, back them up with Blast Wave, Frost Nova, Dragon’s Breath, etc. A healer being gnawed on is a healer that can’t heal you or the tank.
  • Time Warp can be used if available, but shouldn’t make a huge difference to your success. If the adds are kept under control, everything will be fine.
  • You can wait before engaging Augh (and listen to him trash talking! “Who’s bad? Augh bad!”) so make sure to sit and eat to get back your health and mana.
  • Augh himself doesn’t require anything special, just stay out of the way of his whirlwind.

Siamat

  • You’re on add duty for most of this fight, as Siamat himself becomes invulnerable. You’ll be attacking caster adds primarily; you can Counterspell some of their attacks.
  • Be careful of hurricanes that can and will toss you up and even off the platform – if this happens you can try blinking quickly to land on the platform, but this will only work if you haven’t been tossed too far back (I haven’t tested this, and have never been thrown off so I don’t know how helpful slowfall is here).
  • Blink can also help you navigate the platform if necessary.
  • If you have Time Warp, use it once Siamat is vulnerable and burn him down.

That’s it for those instances! Only two remaining – Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines. I’ll try to publish a post about them in the next day or so.

Cataclysm Heroic Tips and Strategies for Mages (Part 2)

This is part two in a series of mage-specific heroic Cataclysm instance guides. I’ll be covering The Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle, and Grim Batol.

Part one includes some basic instancing strategies, as well as tips for Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. You can find it here.

These are not the full strategy guides for each instance – only mage-things that may prove useful. This guide assumes that you are familiar with the basic strategy for each encounter. For instance cheat sheets, you can check out the guides a guildie of mine wrote over at Sword and Board.

This is what my rogue friend was doing in Stonecore. I don't recommend it as a long-term strategy, though.

The Stonecore

Trash: I can’t remember any noteworthy spellstealable buffs off the top of my head, but the trash in general is annoying. The first three pulls in this instance, on Heroic, are some of the toughest pulls in any instance. Your CC will be invaluable here. Keep as many of these guys under control as possible. The trash later is a series of annoying, constant add spawns and that one guy who jumps on everyone. Just take it one pull at a time and you’ll be okay.

Corborus

  • This is pretty self-evident, but Blink is useful to keep yourself out of bad things (dust clouds, adds, pink shards, etc.)
  • Your biggest priority in this fight is to slam the pink shards down as quickly as possible – I find a well-placed Blast Wave + Flamestrike will pretty much handle this. What the initial burst doesn’t kill, the Flamestrike takes care of. Any similar AoE effect will do, though.
  • The adds that spawn when he is burrowed don’t have much HP – don’t waste too much mana on them. I dispatch them with a series of quick scorches or fire blast if mana allows. Substitute your quick abilities according to spec!

Slabhide

  • In terms of DPS this fight is pretty easy. You can continue nuking him for most of the fight, with the exception of the time when you must duck behind a stalactite to LoS his Crystal Storm AoE.
  • Try to find where your healer is and stay within LoS, it will make their life easier (and prolong yours). LoS is hell in this fight for healers, they are struggling to make sure they can heal the tank, so it’s your responsibility to make it easy for them to heal you, too.

Ozruk

  • Fortunately for us, we don’t have to worry about the annoying things this guy is doing to the tank. Our primary concern is making sure we aren’t paralyzed for too long.
  • Use his Spell Reflect ability to place a DoT on yourself – the damage will break you out of Paralyze. I tend to use Living Bomb for this purpose. An added benefit (depending on your perspective) is that LB will explode on you and if you’re standing near group members, damage and break them out of Paralyze, too. This can help out healers who may not have had time to place a DoT of their own. Make sure to ask about this first, though, and if it’s not needed keep yourself far enough away that you aren’t causing unnecessary collateral damage to the folks around you. Use Mage Ward to absorb some of your own fire damage after you’re freed!
  • It’s worth noting that his Elementium Bulwark can be Spellstolen – but be careful with this! If you steal it before all your party members can DoT themselves, you’re going to mess them up. It is nice to steal it so you can keep DPSing him, just be judicious about it. And to my guildies who may or may not have said “Where did his shield go? Crap, I’m paralyzed” – I had nothing to do with it.

High Priestess Azil

  • You can help Decurse in this fight. You have unit frames and an easy keybind set up so you can see and remove curses, right?
  • Help lead adds into void zones if any aggro onto you, if necessary. If not – just stay out of the void zones, watch out for rocks and burn her down. Don’t expect loot, though – rumours of the cloth boots she drops are greatly exaggerated in my experience.

Encounters aside, Vortex Pinnacle is visually my favourite instance so far in the game. Even running it at different times of day changes the way it looks completely. It's gorgeous!

The Vortex Pinnacle

Trash: You can spellsteal Vapor Form from the Empyrean Assassins. It doesn’t increase your DPS, but it’ll help your group be able to kill them (otherwise it reduces their incoming damage by 75%).

Later in the instance, watch for Hand of Protection on Servants of Asaad. It looks and acts just like the paladin version we all know and love.

Grand Vizier Ertan

  • Standing in the exact center (inside of his hit box) will prevent you from being hit by the tornadoes.
  • If your DPS seems to need it (or if your healer is having trouble with the AoE damage) you may use Time Warp, but I prefer to use it for Altairus.
  • Remember that because you are in melee range, you don’t have the threat buffer you ordinarily would at range, so keep an eye on your threat. If you pull aggro, nothing’s going to save you from being a mage-shaped splatter on the ground.

Altairus

  • Advanced blinking skills come into play here. You can blink to get upwind more readily but be careful not to do it straight into a tornado! They’re always moving around so this is a tall order. You may find it safer to just run. If you’re able to stay upwind of him for any significant length of time, the fight should be fairly short and sweet.
  • Time Warp can be used at any time when your group is situated appropriately. The more folks benefiting from both it and the upwind buff, the better!

Asaad

  • In the heroic version of this, the range for his chain lightning is ridiculously huge. It’s serious business. I was used to blinking to safety to avoid chaining it, but this requires a bit more finesse. Blink is still very useful for getting into his electricity triangles, even if you do get a chain lightning. Don’t use Time Warp during one of his “in the air” cycles because it can be tough to get LoS on him properly (he flies up), but you can keep DPSing him if you back your rear up against one of the points of the triangle. Just don’t go too far. Immediately after an air phase would be a good time, if you don’t have Temporal Displacement from the previous fight.
  • You can jump to avoid his Static Cling spell before it finishes casting. This isn’t mage specific, except you know what Static Cling can do to robes, right? Don’t be a fashion disaster.

I used to feel that Grim Batol's only redeeming factor was the amount of cloth that drops here. Now I think its only redeeming factor is the sword I got here, AND the amount of cloth that drops here.

Grim Batol

Trash: The trash here is unique in that the red dragon flight at the beginning of the instance can make it ridiculously easy. If your party is skilled, you can bring all of the groups along your “path” to very low-health without killing them – so much sweet, sweet rep!

If you have a tank that is a huge fan of CC, remind him gently that while a mob is polymorphed, it regenerates its health. Polymorphing something that is more than half dead is counterproductive when a few solid shots would just kill it outright and get it out of the way.

General Umbriss

  • We have no excuse to ever get hit by a Blitz here, it’s so easy to blink out of the way.
  • Someone (and it may be a mage) is going to be in charge of handling the purple troggs. You have to hit them with enough burst to pull them away from the tank, but not kill them before they’ve come towards you – if they are killed within his range they’ll enrage Umbriss. (This is an achievement, but not to be attempted unless everyone in your party is prepared for it). They don’t have a ton of health so it’s pretty easy to pull and kite them if necessary.
  • Alternately, sheep the purple trogg and just keep an eye on it for the fight, just be sure to have your tank positioned away from their spawn point so you have enough room to work with.
  • Umbriss enrages at 30% of his health and you can’t avoid it. Use Time Warp here to get this burn phase over with as quickly as possible.

Forgemaster Throngus

  • His sword phase doesn’t have much of consequence for you – he’s hitting the tank hard, though.
  • During his mace phase, use blink to relocate strategically and avoid his fire trail. Your biggest concern in this phase is to not pull aggro. Your tank will be kiting him, and he won’t be generating as much threat as usual. I tend to use Invisibility near the end of this phase, just to be on the safe side.
  • His shield phase includes a brutal fire AoE cone that is targeted on a person. Collapse on him and remain behind him as you DPS to avoid fireballing yourself in the face. Use Mage Ward to give yourself a bit of leeway to move out of the cone when you see it coming your way.
  • When/if Time Warp is used will depend on your group and which phase is giving them the most trouble. You want to push him out of his most difficult phases as quickly as possible – Sword (if the healer is having trouble healing massive tank damage), or shield (since it damages the whole group) but not mace since threat is already more likely to be an issue in this phase.

Drahga Shadowburner

  • Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you really don’t have a choice) is to burn down Invocations of Flame before they reach whoever they are targeting. You can use Blast Wave to slow them, or Slow, or Frostbolt, whatever your flavour of magic. They don’t have a lot of HP, but watch for them and if one is spawning near you, blink to safety before attacking it.
  • That’s the only specific mage thing I can think of, apart from the “don’t stand in fire and dragon breath” caveats that apply to the whole party.

Erudax

  • This fight is fun, as you enjoy separating Good Purple Things on the Ground from Bad Purple Things On The Ground. You don’t stand in the Binding Shadows one, but you do blink to the Shadow Gale safe spot. (If it helps, one of them is the “eye of the storm” and looks like a hurricane on the ground, and the others just spawn on random players and are targeted.)
  • When we run this, it’s the task of all ranged DPS to sprint back towards the door (yes, blink!) and get ready to slow and burn those adds before they hatch any eggs. For frost mages, Cone of Cold is best for this, as a fire mage you can drop a Blast Wave that will hit both of them and slow them significantly. Then hit it like you mean it! This is another easy heroic achievement to snag because it just means doing your task well. If you keep his adds from hatching any eggs, you win!

That’s three more heroics covered. In the next part I’ll be talking about Halls of Origination, Lost City of the Tol’Vir, and possibly Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, depending on length. As always, if you’ve thought of or know of any tips or tricks I didn’t mention here, please share them in the comments and I will add them! Many mages are better than one.

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