Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related.
You'll find the Blood Queen at the top floor above the chamber that has the Blood Princes. She is the head boss in the wing and is one of the few encounters in the instance that drops tier 10 tokens. This will be a high stress encounter for healers as there is so much going on at once.
Piece of cake? Oh you bet. The strain will be on your DPS players to take her down before the enrage. For us healers, we just have to stand on our head and balance raid health for about 5 minutes. You can check out the overview of the Blood Queen encounter here if you're not sure about the overall mechanics of the fight. This post is strictly meant for the healers so it is best to have an understanding of the encounter.
PreparationPersonally, I like to utilize 6 healers for the encounter. In fact, if your raid group just started working on her, I highly recommend it. I like to set my healers up in a circular formation around the center of the room. You'll notice a patterned circle in the middle of the chamber. Organize your healers around that with the tank healers closest to where the Blood Queen will be tanked (this should go without saying). So long as they are equally spaced out from each other, they won't need to worry about Twilight Bloodbolts much.
Ground phase2 tank healers should be enough to keep your tank and Blood Mirror soaker alive. A nice mix of holy priests, shamans and druids will round out the raid as well. And contrary to popular belief, a raid healing discipline priest will have a field day covering the raid. Casting Power Word: Shield will trigger a train load of absorptions. I actually gave my discipline priest specific instructions: Shield the healers, shield anyone targeted by Swarming Shadows, and shield players under the effect of Pact of the Darkfallen. Don't forget that the Shroud of Sorrow aura is going to deal constant damage to the entire raid.
Swarming Shadows shouldn't be too big of an issue if you get it. Take the path of least resistance to the wall (or run in a straight line toward some area where there are no tanks). Healers should be capable of keeping themselves alive when on the run and to not expect anyone else healing them. If your other healers can spare it, a HoT or two will be more than enough to ensure your survivability. Just don't try to write a message with Shadows.
If a DPS player gets Swarming Shadows, it is becomes the responsibility of the healers closest to them to keep them alive. I can't expect another healer on the other side of the room to do it if they suddenly run out of range.
Pact of the Darkfallen is a little trickier especially on hard modes. As they run in, healers should cover them with HoTs and shields in order to stabilize them. When I did this fight on hard mode, I eventually realized that I had to keep my Circle of Healing held back in reserve specifically for Pacts. They were taking damage at such a high rate that I struggled a bit in order to keep them alive. I realized then that I wasn't supposed to keep them all topped off. I was supposed to keep them alive long enough for them to get within a yard of each other to shake off the Pact.
As a holy priest, this meant targeting the first player with a Renew, the second player with a Power Word: Shield, and the final player with a Circle of Healing (and a quick prayer hoping all of them would benefit). Flash Heal spam did the rest.
As a discipline priest, hit them all with shields. Follow up on the player who has lowest health with a Penance.
For shamans, a quick Riptide on one of them with a Chain Heal as they get closer together should do it. Nature's Swiftness and a Healing Wave in case anyone gets too low.
If there is a resto druid taking care of Pacts, have them maintain HoTs on the affected players. A Wild Growth as they all come closer together should do the trick as well.
Air phaseThis is arguably one of the harder phases to get through. Tremor totems should be dropped several seconds before the air phase kicks in. Fear Wards should go up several seconds after the encounter starts so that you can use Fear Ward again on the second air phase. If you have shadow priests, ask them to toss it on other healers (and bonus points if those other healers can dispel off Fear). When the Blood Queen casts fear, you have a few seconds before she runs to the middle and jumps up in the air doing her spinning Bloodbolt attack. You can get off 2-3 dispels at most. Use them on other healers who didn't have Fear Ward or didn't get a Tremor totem.
At this point, any defensive cooldowns that are available should be used. Yes, this includes the defensive cooldowns of DPS players (Ice Blocks and the sort). My raid runs with 2 healing priests and 2 shadow priests. I'll set two Divine Hymns to go off during the first air phase and the next two to go off during the second air phase. With 5 paladins, I ask 1 of the holy paladins to use their Aura Mastery on the first air phase and the other holy paladin uses theirs on the second.
Eventually she'll land and the ground phase starts all over again.
The fight gets progressively easier as more and more players become bitten. Any bitten players who deal damage will gain a portion of the damage dealt back as health.
Vampiric biteThere might come a time when you are to be on the receiving end of a Vampiric Bite. The bite grants Essence of the Blood Queen (which sadly does not increase healing done by 100%). Normally, DPS players have assigned biting target. But sometimes, it isn't always possible for them to go after their targets. Maybe they died or perhaps they're running away with a Swarming Shadows chasing them. Whatever the case, be prepared to be bitten. If those raiders wait too long to bite someone, they'll eventually become mind controlled. So if you are bitten, you wait your minute and look for a free person nearby that you can bite.
All in all, a fairly easy encounter for healers (conceptually). Most of the challenge will come during the air phase when trying to do the delicate job of keeping yourself alive and keeping the raid alive. If you can master that without any casualties at all, you'll be well on your way to scoring another kill in Icecrown.
Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Need raid or guild healing advice? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could see a future post addressing your question. Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.