A few weeks ago, Joe wrote a piece about personal survivability on my blog. After healing some raid finder and pug runs, I wanted to help echo his sentiment. Whenever there's a new expansion, there's always additional abilities, bosses, and so forth. There's new players picking up the game and old players returning. It bears some reminding that you absolutely should help look after yourself.
Your class has talents that helps you live.
The Spiritbinder is the third boss of Mogu'shan Vaults. I found that if you can get through the major part of the encounter, the berserk phase feels painless.
Spiritbinder's main mechanics involve players ducking into the spirit world and neutralizing the spirits. If left unchecked, they'll overwhelm the raid with constant damage. A small group of DPS and healers need to head down and take out the spirits. Every so often, your tanks will get sent down.
There's only one way for a player to leave the spirit world: They need to get healed up. There's a special action button allowing them to return to the real world but it only kicks in when player's are healed.
Warning: We once had a case where a tank was sent down. The off tank managed to pick up Gara'jal but didn't realize he was standing on top of a Spirit Totem. Sure enough, the totem was eliminated but the tank didn't move quickly enough resulting in both tanks in the Spirit World. Turn on name plates to help spot them easily.
In order to head down, the Spirit Totems summoned by Gara'jal need to be destroyed which sends the closest 5 players down (3 players on 10 man). It is absolutely imperative that a healer gets sent down. If it's missed, your raid will lose players and ultimately succumbs to the Troll.
To help ensure this, center your healer of choice directly on top of the totems then cue the DPS to blow it up. This guarantees the healer is sent down along with whatever DPS are nearby.
The bonus of being in the Spirit Realm is your mana regen increases significantly. It's easy to exit with a full bar. Don't hesitate in going all out while you're in there. Just mind the timer of your debuff and make sure you're out before it expires otherwise you'll dead.
If you have the Voodoo Doll debuff, you can't go down anyway. When you're called to go, mention that you can't. The next healer in line should take your place and you can catch the next one. An easy way to determine a healer order on the fly to see who's low on mana.
Cease sending players down when Gara'jal reaches 25%. When he's at 20%, totems stop spawning. You'll want all hands on deck in the normal world as Gara'jal will enter the berserk phase. Rotate healing cooldowns as needed. Use Heroism here. If you're pushing the enrage timer, Heroism at 5:20 since he'll crush the raid at the 6:00 mark.
Fourth encounter of Mogu'shan Vaults. I like referring to this fight as the world cup of situational awareness in this expansion. It's a 4 stage encounter with numerous abilities to be aware of. Each time a Spirit King gets neutralized, another one will take it's place. But the new Spirit King will retain one ability from the previous Spirit King.
Qiang the Merciless
If everything goes to according to plan, the damage received by the raid should be easily split. Drop AoE healing on the ground. Your raid should be stacking in front of him (directly on top of the tank) and running through upon Annihilate.
I strongly suggest utilizing Heroism here. The longer your raid engages Qiang, the higher the chances of someone getting killed by Flanking Orders, Massive Attacks, or Annihilate. The damage coming in should be evenly spread out among all the players and you shouldn't suffer any casualties at all provided every player is taking the correct hits.
When Qiant is defeated, he'll only use Flanking Orders
The next three Kings will occur in a random order.
Subetai the Swift
Watch out for Volleys. He fires those three times in a row and the attack is conical which gets narrower with increasing damage after the first. If you see a Rain of Arrows, get out of it or else you'll get shut down by a Pinning Arrow. If you do get pinned, expect to be immobilized. You won't be able to cast any spells either. Your raid group needs to break you out by applying DPS to the arrow impaling you.
Try to spread out to minimize the effects of Pillage. If your gear gets stolen, your healing gets cut in half but it shouldn't last too long.
When Subetai is defeated, he'll only use Pillage.
Zian of the Endless Shadow
Zian will nail players with an Undying Shadow that follows the nearest player when it becomes summoned. The Shadow needs to be kited away from everyone else around the room to minimize the damage it deals to players within 10 yards. When the Undying Shadow gets destroyed, it creates a pool on the ground (Coalescing Shadows). Stay off this stuff.
Meng the Demented
Whenever Meng casts Maddening Shout, run in. The raid should be gradually AoEing each other in order to break the control and aggression. Pray that your raid doesn't end up killing anyone with friendly fire (because it's been known to happen). Dispel any accidental DoTs.
Even though Meng deals progressively more damage due to Crazed and reflects damage back from Cowardice, your AoE healing spells should be enough to carry you through this portion of the fight. For extra security, hit the tank with a cooldown when Meng's Insanity level gets high.
When Meng is defeated, he'll only use Maddening Shout.
All in all, a cool encounter! I prefer Spirit Kings largely due to the sense of randomness it offers (at least, the order of the Kings is randomized). It keeps things from getting too predictable on a week to week basis.
Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to firstname.lastname@example.org. For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.