Friday, July 2, 2010

[Druid] Heroic LK, or wtf is up with your spec?

The overwhelming large request for further articles was on Cataclysm talent analysis and reports. I am in the beta and was in the alpha, so I can test things out specifically if you're at all curious - and plan to do similar reports to what I did back in the PTR days with savage defense.

So because most everyone wanted my views on Cataclysm, I'm going to talk about Heroic Lich King.

Well, first I'm going to say that Skunkworks is still recruiting, but not a resto druid for the time being. We are recruiting one Holy Priest (as of 7/2) so if you're interested drop us a line. And if you're totally awesome but only want to demonstrate that awesomeness 8 hours a week, drop a line too.

Second, Heroic Lich King. Ugh. It's a great fight, and it's a hard, hard fight. Defile is one of the most horrible mechanics ever to grace a boss fight; it combines all the intricacies of every single 'don't stand in stuff' you've ever seen and combines it with personal fail issues that you have only seen from things like Teron Gorefiend, where you pray to whatever gods might be listening that "That Guy" doesn't get defile, or someone doesn't DC, or whatever.

We are getting better. We got another 17% wipe this week, and this week was short due to our server maintenance - only 4 hours of raiding. Two weeks to go with the 25% buff. I really think we are on the verge of a kill; changing our stuns helped immensely.

Ah, stuns. What am I talking about here? The hardest part of the fight, IMO, is dealing with the valkyrs that carry off three people while defiles are being dropped on random people and the tank on LK is getting WTFPwned. Aka, Phase 2. Tank deaths are actually not that horrible to deal with and we can often recover from a tank death without losing anyone. Defiles are...getting better, though we (and I) have the occasional fail that wipes the raid. The valks, however, we have conquered.

The valks are a neat mechanic. In case you're not familiar, what they do is target three random people who aren't high on threat on LK and pick that person up, damaging them. They travel in a straight line towards the edge of the room, and drop that person off the ledge to be killed and unrezzable. If they go below 50% health (they have 3 million health) they drop their target and fly to the center of the room, and spam the highest threat target they have with random bolts of death. The goal is to get all three valks moving in the same straight line and reduce all three valk's health to 50% as quickly as possible. Both slows and stuns work on them.

Originally we had a stun rotation of an AoE stun first, then two rogues and a feral building up CP and doing their stun, then emergency stuns. And this...didn't work well. It worked some of the time, but the CP generation was slow, the overall stun time was slower, and we'd get situations where the stuns would be staggered so the valks wouldn't be grouped up well enough. We changed this so that the single target stuns are done by paladins and a prot warrior, then the AoE stun hits, and then we go to other single target stuns come in. And we have backups in case those folks are taken.

Which is where my weird-ass cat spec comes in.

The big one here is Brutal Impact. This doesn't affect Maim at all. Why use it? Because the primary stun I provide is no longer maim, it's bash. This increases the duration by a second, but more importantly reduces the cooldown to 30 seconds - meaning it's available on every valkyr phase.

Of course that means I have to go to bear AND have enough rage when I get out of bear to bash right away. Which of course means...5/5 furor. Sigh. I hate this, so very very much. But it's the right choice. After that I had two points to spend pretty much anywhere I chose, so I went with Nurturing Instinct. Partially this helps with healing me, which is good; more survivability on a fight like this is good anyway. But there's a second benefit - it also improves the power of Tranquility.

When would I need to use Tranquility? Well, when a disc priest is picked up and we have to deal with infest. Or in the throne room for some extra heals.

It's not the 'normal' spec, not by any means. It's certainly not DPS optimal; my ferocious bite crits went significantly down, even with the 25% boost. But with this my stuns became far more reliable and far faster to operate, and I could fill in on a quick stun on each valk phase without worrying about the next. It's very useful, and if you've been doing the maim thing I'd recommend doing this instead; you can still build up CPs on your target, but when it comes time for you to stun just switch to bear and bash; you'll have all that energy pooled when you switch back and not lose any CPs on your target, making it far cheaper than maim.

As to strategy on this fight as a feral cat, here's my basic deal.

Stage 1: stay with melee. Pre-pot using a haste pot, blow berserk after the second shadow trap is placed so that I will likely not have to move and most of the rotation has started. Try to get a full rip and fresh rake and 5 CP and a mangle debuff on LK right before he transitions, so I can get a full SR up when the first raging spirit spawns.

Transition 1: run out if targeted by an orb. Innervate a healer. Use CPs from LK on SR when first spirit spawns, then get 5 CPs as fast as I can, rip, build up more CPs, potentially FB or SR depending. Move to second (even if not dead; dots and others will take care of him). Build to 5 CP, rip ASAP. If I had to SR instead, don't rip - FB. Move to third. Build to 5 CP, rip, rake, move to LK.

Stage 2. Stay on LK for the most part. While you would think swipe damage would be insanely awesome, it turns out that it's not nearly as good as damage on LK can be as a cat. The idea is to build CP on LK, keep SR, rake and rip up, and swipe when you can. Run out early for defile to the non-throne side. Watch to stun if necessary. Use barkskin if targeted by valk. Jump over defiles using feral charge. Use Tranquility in an emergency. Don't waste CPs on FBs if you're moving from LK to a valk; refresh SR early instead. Use berserk on the second Valk phase (the one that coincides with Defile) right after the defile lands, and swipe your ass off. If not then, do it on the third phase.

Transition 2: Again, try to get both bleeds and 5 CP for SR on LK right before. Ignore valks. Same basic strategy as before for the raging spirits, though you may want to get bleeds up on both targets if possible at the end. DPS the hell out of the 3rd spirit and waste all your CP.

Phase 3: go into throne room, don't be a retard. Think about using tranquility. Get out of throne room the first time, run like hell, then move back onto the raging spirit. Kill him. Avoid vile spirits or use CDs and bear form to survive them. Get back on LK. Avoid defiles. Then go back into throne room, don't be a retard, use haste pot with bloodlust, use berserk when you can. Ideally you'll use berserk on the first throne room and then the last one.

It's a lot harder than it sounds. :)


Alaron said...

You were in the alpha? Pbbbbt. I bet you've been secretly laughing at all my "analysis" posts that were probably horribly wrong, coming as they were from leaked info. :)

I love the idea of going to Bear for stuns! We've done the same thing for our 25m LK kills on normal(shockwave, rogue/feral/feral, then anybody) and Maiming is just horrid. I never thought of going Bear and dropping points into Brutal Impact, though I did pick up IW, and NI+tranquility has been money on a number of occasions. (I think I saved our tank on our first PP kill with it.)

How's SD looking on beta atm? I've heard rumors that the proc rate was reduced, but the amount absorbed greatly increased.

Xarnen said...

Yea I ended up creating a spec for Arthas and heroic saurfang that has brutal impact since in our 10m raid comp just us tanks have viable stuns. This is the spec I've been using for those fights.

Bear Chat said...

Honestly all I can say is that I am really happy to see you posting again!

My guild is 11/12 HM atm, but we really haven't begun the joy that is LK 25 HM attempts.

Kalon said...

I was a bit amused by some of your comments, yes, Alaron. :)

Bear for stuns has a huge advantage in that you can do it almost instantly; if you need an immediate stun, you can get it. Big, big deal.

SD has the proc rate reduced but the shield value increased, and mastery increases that. It's still a static amount of AP, and because weapon AP is gone SD shields are actually about the same size as they are on live right now. Which means...they're kinda rubbish.