So you've bested the bony boy, defeated the dour devil, played pirate and defeated the Lich King's cherished champion. Last week we took you through The Lower Spire with some tips and a look at each boss. This week, your sights are firmly set on the next challenge. The next stop on your journey will take you into the citadel's plague wing. Don't let the name fool you; this is no Naxxramas. As before, this is not a complete raid strategy, just some tips and tricks for the restoration shaman heading into the breach.
The Plagueworks has everything you need to make you feel at home: vile gas and slime, a plethora of ghoulish playmates, even a couple puppies to keep you company. This wing of the citadel is devoted to the creation of the Lich King's various plagues and carrion creatures as well as where all the various constructs and flesh-crafting research is done. You've seen what the plagues have done in the past; now it's time to stop them from wiping out all life on Azeroth with their vile concoctions!
First on your list of evil-doers to down is Festergut. One of the fat-boy twins, he is very much a DPS race. As a healer, your job is to keep enough of your raid's DPS up long enough to down this behemoth. The fight itself is on a very strict timer: you have five minutes to down this beast. He has 40.2 million HP in the 25-man version, with only 300 seconds to down him before his enrage timer is up. The fight shifts between large amounts of raid damage to massive tank damage and back again, so you will be quite busy, but there are a number of things you can do here.
Positioning: Festergut is a fight in which you need to maximize your healing output. Most strategies will call for you to stand in melee range, and to be honest, that is the best place you can be during this fight. It allows you to have maximum coverage to heal the raid around you through Gaseous Blight and puts you in a position to easily share Gas Spore with melee and tanks in preparation for Pungent Blight. This also puts you in a great position to quickly switch healing gears as Festergut continues to cast Inhale Blight, increasing not only his damage on the tank but also your need to pay attention to the tank's health. Chain Heal will be great for use on melee and clusters of range during the first two inhales. As always, make sure to keep Riptide up on a target; tanks make great candidates for this. On the third inhale, the tank will be taking a lot of damage, so switching to Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave spam on the tank to keep them up is a good idea. When Festergut casts Pungent Blight, break out the group healing again and go back to keeping the raid up. Another good item to use here is Healing Stream Totem. It might not sound like a lot, but with average spell gear, this totem will be pulsing for 600 or more healing every two seconds. It can help even things out and make healing a little bit easier. You are also in a great position to utilize Fire Nova. Since you're likely to have Flametongue Totem down anyway, and since you will be in melee range, you can use this to help put just a little bit more damage on the boss. In a fight where every little bit helps, that little you can give can help add up to topple that last 1%.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
The beginning of the fight is the best time to pop this spell. Make sure the boss is fully debuffed and that everyone with cooldowns to burn has burned them (like death knights and Army of the Dead). A second option is right after the first Pungent Blight.
Once you beat down Festergut, it is time to take on his brother Rotface. The second part of the dastardly duo is a little different than his brother. This pile of putrescence does not have an enrage timer like his brother; instead, he spawns a series of adds in a similar fashion to Grobbulus in Naxx. When a person receives the Mutated Injection debuff, he has 12 seconds to move over to an add tank before it spawns the small add. The debuff can be removed by Cleanse Spirit and Cure Toxins, but try to avoid your desire to purge it unless the add tank asks for it. Once you clean it off the affected person, the add immediately spawns. As adds spawn, they will merge together and form into a big ooze. Once five have combined, they will explode, sending ooze in the direction of the raid.
Also during the fight, the professor will flood sections of the room with Ooze Flood. This will fill a full 25% of the room with ooze that will kill you if you stand in it. Last but not least of the bad boy's abilities is Slime Spray. While he may not have a gas problem like his brother, he sure has a problem keeping his food down. It takes him 1.5 seconds to cast the spell and another 5 seconds to channel it. He will target a random raid member and deal a cone of damage. This is easily avoidable just by standing or moving behind him.
Positioning: This is another fight that will see the group clumped up -- in this case, behind the boss. By all normal counts, you should stand with the group, but here's a little tip for you. As shamans, we tend to be a sit-and-heal class, so a little trick here is to stand directly to the side of the boss. This puts you between the raid and the tank, but it also minimizes the amount of time you have to move instead of healing. This positioning plays to the fact that the odds are in your favor that you won't be the target of the Slime Spray. If by chance you do get targeted by the Slime Spray, you can side step back into the raid group until the tank has time to snag him and the raid re-positions. As everyone will be grouped up, Chain Heal will be your main spell of choice. Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave should be used on the targets of Mutated Injection, as the debuff will deal damage to them. Earth Shield comes in very handy here on the add tank, since he will be running through slime and gathering up the big oozes.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
The beginning of the fight again is probably the best place to pop your cooldown. As the fight goes on, it will become more and more hectic. Using Bloodlust/Heroism it at the beginning of the fight ensures that the vast majority of the raid will be able to benefit from the buff. Just make sure that all summons are completed and that the boss has a full complement of debuffs before you use it.
Good news, everybody! You've made it to the last challenge of the Plagueworks. The professor is the Lich King's chief physician, so to speak. He's been hard at work on new constructs and a new plague that is to be capable of wiping out all life on Azeroth. Rotface and Festergut just happen to be his "sons," and I'm sure he's none too happy with your taking them out. This fight has three phases to deal with.
Positioning: Phase 1 will see you having to deal with Slime Puddles that will grow if left unattended by the Abomination tank. He will also cast Unstable Experiment, which will summon forth either a greed Volatile Ooze or a red Gas Cloud. Green oozes will head towards a person, locking him in place; when it reaches him, it will explode. This explosion is mitigated by the number of people surrounding the targeted individual. Have Chain Heal ready to top off everyone who got exploded. The red type will chase a target, exploding if it catches him. While being chased, the target will take damage. Riptide and Lesser Healing Wave are your friends here. Top of the target while the DPS handles the adds. A little tip: Chain Heal can be targeted off of the abomination tank and it will chain to the rest of the raid. So if you find yourself out of range of the group after an explosion but the abomination is close enough to chain to them, feel free to pop Chain Heal on the abom and watch it go. This is similar to bouncing it off of totems in Burning Crusade.
At 80% health, phase 2 begins. The professor will throw down Tear Gas, stunning the raid while he goes back to his table to "grow" as a person. Phase 2 is very similar to phase 1, with the addition of two new abilities to watch out for. He will occasionally throw down a couple of flasks on the ground, which are very visible -- bright orange with a cloud around them. These Choking Gas flasks deal a decent amount of damage and also reduce the ability of anyone affected by them to hit by 75%. Make sure to give them wide berth. The second new ability is Malleable Goo. It is imperative that you run away from these. When they land, they will hit everything around the area with a five-yard splash. If you get hit by the spell, it will reduce your casting time by 250%. This will all but cripple your ability to heal for the 20 seconds the debuff lasts. As everyone will be spread out to avoid splash damage, you will be relying on Lesser Healing Wave, Riptide and Healing Wave as your tools.
Phase 3 happens at 30%. The professor will Tear Gas you one more time, but this time he transforms himself into a big, hulking behemoth. In this phase, you will lose the abomination tank, and so the puddles will continue to grow until they cover the entire room. Again, there are a few new abilities to deal with. The first is Mutated Strength, which will increase the professor's damage output, and so tanks will need tighter tending to. At the same time, however, Mutated Plague will deal constant damage to the raid. This is a debuff placed on the current tank. The damage increases as stacks are applied. Multiple tanks will cycle through to minimize the damage to the raid. This is the crunch-time phase, where you will either win or lose. People will be moving together in clumps to avoid the puddles, so Chain Heal will help a lot. Keep Riptide and Earth Shield up on the tank as you make your way around the room with your raid group. If the debuff falls off the tank (i.e., the tank dies), it will heal the professor for 300,000 per stack.
When to Bloodlust/Heroism
Save Heroism for phase 3 here. After each tank has about two stacks of the Mutated Plague (around 20% health), it's good to blow the cooldown. This gives the raid enough time to move into position and apply all debuffs and also gives the healers a boost to keep the raid and tanks up.
Keep your wits about you and stay light on your feet. Be prepared to move and heal and you will see the professor call out for recess before long. The Plagueworks isn't too bad but is a definite jump in difficulty from The Lower Spire. Any tips you care to share? Until next time -- may all your heals be swift and your mana plentiful!
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