I really like Terrace of Endless Spring. In my eyes, Terrace represents a continuation of the process of experimentation the developers began in Trial of the Crusader, namely that of making raids smaller without holding any actual content back. This experiment was continued in Cataclysm in Throne of the Four Winds, but I feel it wasn't quite a success until Terrace. Shrinking raids is a tricky proposition, but the surface area of this instance is balanced out by the complexity of its encounters.
For you regular readers out there, you might have noticed I seem to have skipped right over the second half of Heart of Fear, Nightmare of Shek'zeer. Truth be told, I didn't really find these encounters interesting enough to devote an entire column to tackling them. Don't let my apparent entomophobia hold you back, though -- please do feel free to discuss Wind Lord Mel'Jarak, Amber-Shaper Un'sok, and Grand Empress Shek'zeer in the comments below!
Anywho, let's jump right into the encounters for Terrace of Endless Spring. If you're looking for some raid guides for these bosses, Icy Veins has a great set on their site.
Protectors of the Endless
Similar in many ways to Ulduar's Iron Council, the Protectors can be pulled in a different order to vary not only the difficulty, but the gear drops. As on Iron Council, you will only be attacking one target at a time, a fact that shapes the talents and glyphs we want to use in this encounter.
Talents For this fight I'm leaning towards a 231213 setup. Let me quickly run through each choice:
- Long Arm of the Law is pretty handy for quickly sidestepping in and out of Regail's Lightning Storm, which happens often enough to make you curse the cooldown on Speed of Light.
- Since none of these guys are susceptible to any of these level 30 talents, we'll take Burden of Guilt so we won't have to respec for the next encounter.
- Selfless Healer is debatably the smarter choice here, as you don't get a lot of forced downtime to toss up a Sacred Shield on this encounter.
- Unbreakable Spirit is such a great standby option for the level 60 talents that I'll only change it if there's a very obvious need for Hand of Purity or Clemency.
- If you have four-piece tier 14, then definitely take Sanctified Wrath and never let it go. Otherwise, I feel like Holy Avenger may be the better option here; the shorter cooldown means you're more likely to have it up for each protector, and you'll have another cooldown to pop if you happen to gain the Purified buff.
- Execution Sentence dominates single-target encounters, period. The fact that the remaining protectors heal to full when one dies means AoE damage is fruitless aside from proc fishing, so keep Light's Hammer and Holy Prism in the bag for now.
As Terrace is a refinement of the idea that birthed Trial of the Crusader, Tsulong is a spin on the Valithria Dreamwalker encounter from Icecrown Citadel. This cloud serpent vacillates between asserting control over the Sha corrupting it, and succumbing to their influence, resulting in alternating day and night phases.
Talents My choice of builds is identical to the previous encounter, 231213, for good reason:
- Long Arm will not only help you zip across the platform to clear your Dread Shadow stacks in a Sunbeam, but they will also help you close the gap with any adds you want to attack in the night phase.
- Burden of Guilt is quite helpful in slowing the adds as they march toward your dragon buddy.
- Holy Avenger is again nice for this fight as it should be up for every phase.
I'm thinking, though, that since the devs axed the connection between the Harsh Words and Word of Glory glyphs, this maneuver either won't work or isn't intended to work. If you've tried this personally, please weigh in!
This water spirit offers a much less complex encounter than the remainder of the instance. Lei Shi offers the first time in the instance where we have nothing better to do than twiddle our thumbs, thanks to our lack of non-targeted AoE abilities with ret's loss of Consecration and Holy Wrath in Mists.
Talents Here I'm changing things up and going with 213213. A few notes on our options for this fight:
- Our need for a movement speed buff is readily apparent during Get Away!. Speed of Light is actually too much of a boost as it overcomes the pushback and can propel you past the boss. Pursuit of Justice could be a viable alternative, but dealing damage to Lei Shi will create a variable run speed that could affect your ability to stay within melee range.
- Fist of Justice is handy for stunning Animated Protectors to keep them away from squishy friends before a tank can pick it up.
- Sacred Shield can be used proactively here thanks to that previously mentioned downtime during Hide when we have nothing better to do other than jump around pretending like we're helping.
- The chaotic nature of the mini-phase transitions favor a shorter duration CD, which is why we're holding onto Holy Avenger.
Sha of Fear
By the time you get to the Sha of Fear, turn around and realize that you've only ascended two flights of stairs. Feel the burn, folks, feel the burn.
In all seriousness, this is a pretty interesting fight. Depending on how you manage adds, you could be bouncing around every which way as you move out of AoE damage, towards adds, into the safe zone, and around one of the outer platforms.
Talents Finally, just to be difficult and have you burn another Tome of the Clear Mind, I'm recommending a 211213 build. Of course, allow me to justify most of these talent choices:
- If it isn't obvious, movement is a big deal here. The frequency at which you will be running around means the cooldown on Speed of Light is far too long to be a viable solution. The on-demand nature of Long Arm wins my vote for this fight.
- Selfless Healer is an admittedly personal choice, as I find I am more able to allow myself one quick reactionary heal to damage I mistakenly took over taking a GCD to put up a shield that won't even be active for a whole five seconds.
- The amount of movement and potential target-switching translates into Holy Avenger being my top pick.
And just like that, we're done with Terrace of Endless Spring! Hopefully the Sha of Fear dropped his axe for you, or you at least got a piece of tier or two out of it. More importantly, though, I hope you enjoyed it, it's a good raid!
But seriously, get the axe.
The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.