Firelands forays, where we learn to stay in the kitchen

Now that we’ve had some time to check out the bosses in Firelands beyond the startegy guides, I think it’s about time to compile some of the new boss’ strategies and try to find some tips and tricks we can use to our advantage. In general, Firelands fights are reasonably ranged-friendly, but there are a few things that are going to irk us unless we learn to work around it.

Beth’tilac

This big spider scurries up on her web the moment she’s attacked. Spinners will be dangling from the web, tossing fireballs at the raid, and Beth’tilac sprays acid on the raid. Taunting a spider gets it down, as does dealing a lot of damage. This reduces raid damage and leaves a bright red line leading up into the web.

One tank and a healer go up, as do (in the normal strategy) the melee DPS. Tanking her stops Beth’tilac from spraying her AoE. She has an energy bar, which depletes over time. Once empty, she starts casting a giant AoE. During this time, everyone on top of the web needs to go down to the ground level via the hole in the middle of the web. This repeats itself three times, then she comes down for phase 2.

Meanwhile, on the ground Drones will spawn, which need to be tanked facing away from the raid. Strong single-target ranged classes (Arcane Mages, Boomkins, and ourselves after the last patch) nuke down the Drone. Little Spiderlings will come streaming towards the Drone from a few positions at the edge of the field. These need to be slowed and killed before they reach the Drone – this will heal it up. Fire Mages, Frost Mages (for control) and Hunters do wonders here.

If a Drone is not killed in time, it will go up the web and start mooching energy of big momma Beth’tilac. This will drain her energy bar quicker, meaning less time until the next Smoldering Devastation.

Once phase 2 begins, she starts turning the tank into an AoE bomb (stay 10 yards away) and everyone else clumps up on her tail. This is a nuke phase with ever-increasing damage until she’s dead. If you did your job well, no Spiderlings reached her as she came down, and the damage dealt by the melee is helping. If she ate a Spiderling, she’s generally healed to full again. Burn or wipe.

We as Shadowpriests have a strong AoE (Mind Sear) but it’s reasonably unwieldy on this fight. Your best bet is to channel it off a Mage (preferably Fire) who stays close to the Spiderlings. Just be careful not to get too close, or they jump on you and poison you. You need 3-4 people on each group of Spiderlings, or else it’s a tough duty.

Personally I prefer to stay on the Drones or go up the web and hurt Beth’tilac, but when you need a lot of AoE there’s not much choice.

Shannox

If you kill enough trash, this nice Salamander will spawn. He’s a Hunter-type, with traps and two dogs: Riplimb and Rageface. He tosses down Freezing Traps and Immolation Traps. The trick to this fight is to nuke down Rageface while Riplimb is tanked. Neither the boss nor the adds can be taunted, so careful!

Rageface occasionally jumps at a person and does Face Rage, which is a lot of damage on that target. To break it, he needs to take a 30K (10man) or 45K (25man) single-target hit. He then attacks the target that dealt him this damage (stand and take it, it’s easily healed through).

Shannox will toss a spear now and then, creating a zone with little fiery geysers – don’t touch them. This works like the Drakonids in BoT after Theralion and Valiona – small fiery jets which erupt after a few seconds. Stay out of the traps, or move away from them if they come on you. Ice Traps will freeze you until the DPS releases you by breaking it. Immolation Traps hurt like hell.

After Shannox’ spear has been tossed, Riplimb will rush op to it to fetch it back for him. Using traps or kiting the boss, the tanks will extend the time it takes to deliver the spear to the fullest. With the spear, Shannox applies a debuff – and Riplimb does the same for his tank. The longer it takes to get the spear back, and Riplimb is occupied, the less damage on the tank and a good chance the stacks drop off.

Once Rageface is dead, bring Shannox to 35% and Riplimb to 5% – kill Riplimb and then Shannox enrages – gather up and kill him, this is a DPS race. Every dog that is killed gives him a 30% damage boost, so while killing Rageface is an acceptable tradeoff, killing Riplimb will necessitate a quick transition.

He’s otherwise very easy, and you can keep DoTs on all targets most of the time. Ironically, our DPS is the highest when our raid members fail and get caught in traps, where we have many DoTs running as you are nuking dogs, Shannox and the crystals.

If you are the target of Face Rage, simply Disperse and wait it out – your health bar will hardly move.

Rhyolith

Rhyolith is a big stone giant which has two phases – one where you can only DPS his legs, and the second where he goes “flame-on” on your raid and you DPS him down. In his first phase he is untankable – instead, you can guide him by DPS’ing the leg where you want him to go. So to make him go left, DPS the left leg. You want a bit of DPS on both legs to prevent him from resetting his direction swing (usually I get put on DoTting both legs) but the bulk on where you want him to move.

Have one dedicated person who calls which leg to DPS on. Practice it, we are good for this role since we have good overview of the fight and little facing requirements.

He will spawn volcanoes, and Stomp AoE which gives us stacks – the stacks increase Fire damage taken. Active volcanoes will spawn fiery lines (stay out), Shards of Rhyolith (small adds, gather and nuke) and Fragment of Rhyolith (large burning adds which AoE – stay away from those, tank it away from the raid and single-target nuke).

Rhyolith takes little damage – he has 80 stacks of Obsidian Armor. If he walks over a volcano, 10 stacks are removed and he is debuffed. This is the key to reaching phase 2 – make sure to walk him over volcanoes while controlling raid damage. This part is mostly survival for us. In a typical fight I try to stay in healer’s AoE, keep DoTs on both legs, while nuking adds. This ensures control over the legs, a steady stream of damage on the boss, and a speedy killing of the adds.

Especially the little adds need to die quickly – after 30 seconds, any living ones will rush raid members and deal them damage based on their current health. Added to the stacking debuff increasing Fire damage, this really puts the hurting on your raid.

Once he reaches phase 2 (at 25% health) he will shed his stony shell and become a molten giant of magma. This is where you want the raid to stack up for healing and nuke him down. He can now be tanked, and tanks and healers chain cooldowns to keep the tanks and the raid up. Save all offensive cooldowns for this phase.

Baleroc

This fight is mostly a healer-check, where they have to manage a complicated rotation to get the proper healing buffs up before healing the tank. For us as DPS, there’s mostly the “Crystal Tanking” to worry about. What happens is that crystals will spawn – one in 10man, two in 25man difficulty. When you stand close to it, it will give you a DoT that stacks. When you leave the area of the crystal, you take a debuff increasing magical damage taken by a lot.

Key is to rotate people to and from the crystals. What we did was put people in groups of three, and assign each group the first, second and third crystal (in 25man). In each group, one person is the first to soak, leaving when he has 8-10 stacks. The second person then steps in close, and takes 8-10 before the third one steps in. In this case, a handy trick is for each soaker group to stay close together, and each person to have the person before them in line on focus. That way you can see where they are as a dot on the minimap.

Other than that, this fight is very easy and – I dare say – very boring.

Alysrazor

And then this helter-skelter. The basic premise is rather fun for everyone. Druids spawn, which have to be interrupted and killed. If they are allowed to cast Fieroblast, they will stack a Haste buff on themselves, which will wipe your raid if allowed to stack too high.

Meanwhile, tanks pick up hatchlings, which imprint on the nearest target when they hatch. The tank gets a huge damage boost, which will put them firmly #1 and #2 on the DPS charts. The hatchlings start sated, but soon become Hungry. When they reach Tantrum phase, they deal a LOT of damage. To counter this, the tank has to drag the hatchling to the worms that spawn randomly, and have them eat a worm just as the hatchling starts a tantrum.

For us DPS – the worms have a fire breath and can’t be affected by anything. Avoid.

Alysrazor drops feathers on the ground when she’s first summoned, and on every pass. Make sure to get at least 1 feather before phase 2, because it allows you to move while casting. With three feathers, you can fly – usually Melee follows Alysrazor into the air. Flying through burning hoops in the air extends your flight ability and gives a stacking Haste/Crit buff. Personal experience is that I practically doubled my DPS if I were allowed to fly up.

When Phase 2 starts, Alysrazor centers downstairs and becomes a torrent of flame. Everyone should get to the ground and avoid the fiery tornadoes. Easiest way to do that is to run after a tornado, and when another tornado passes, follow that one. Repeat until the end of the phase – you won’t get hit if you do this properly. There are fiery gates here as well that grant the same damage buff. Once you are comfortable surviving, aim for 2-3 stacks at least.

Phase 3 Alysrazor has run out of energy and lies at the center. This is a full burn-phase, where the two druids’ channel has to be interrupted. She then ignites, and you have a short window to DPS her before she goes into the sky again. Then phase 1 repeats. After the third burn phase, she can no longer ignite and will stay down. The raid then has to DPS her down before the wipe happens. Aim for 20% off the boss’ health at every flight phase, and another 20% from the people flying after her. This leaves about 20% to DPS down in the burn phase.

The lowdown on the loot

Promise you won’t cry. Okay.The loot in Firelands varies greatly by quality. Not every boss drops a good item, but as Intellect is a priority stat, you might want to go for subpar items (Crit-Spirit, Crit-Mastery, Spirit-Mastery) if you are just gearing up.

Of proper note, however, is the Smoldering Censer of Purity. Not getting the legendary from your guild? This baby will comfort you to sleep at night. This lovely, lovely item has a chance of also dropping from every other boss, except Ragnaros. Squee!

Beth’tilac drops Robes of Smoldering Devastation, which are really nice but not worth breaking up your 4piece over. And since in the T12 the legs are the weakest piece, you will be aiming for the T12 robe.

Rhyolith drops the Flickering Cowl, which has a random enchantment and can possibly be good – but again, you don’t want to break the 4-piece for it and you want the T12 head later on.

Shannox drops BoE boots, the Coalwalker Sandals. These are very good boots, and will be a great complement to the “free” cloak, belt and bracer you get from the rep vendor. The Goblet of Anger is also a very good off-hand and will help free up a lot of Hit you’ve been reforging onto your gear.

So of these bosses, only Shannox drops gear of note, and expect to share a lot of it with the healers and the other ranged DPS. We won’t be drooling until Baleroc and his Necromantic Focus, Staghelm’s Flowform Choker and Wristwraps of Imminent Doom (once you are comfortably hit-capped). Ragnaros drops Majordomo’s chain of Office and Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord.

As you can see, we have plenty of gear to go for, but nothing in the terms of choices. Four-piece T12 is set on head, shoulders, chest and hands. We get a good belt, cloak and bracer from the rep vendor. This leaves primarily the weapon and trinket slots that are in need of upgrades.

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