I've been a big fan of your Raid Rx column on WoW Insider and wanted to ask your advice concerning the healing strategy for Al'ar. We've been having issues on him lately. I am a retired priest, but guild needs have forced me to become a hunter (weird, I know). However, I'm still very active in our healing community. Sadly, we lack reliable paladins. Our raid healing is mostly made up of 3 priests, 2 healing shammies, 1 paladin, and 1 resto druid. If push comes to shove and we need an extra healer, another paladin or priest takes the spot in exchange for dps.
We've been able to down VR and Solarian, but have not been able to survive phase 2 of the Al'ar fight. I'm not sure if it's a problem with healers dying in flame patches, tanks not picking up the bird spawns fast enough, or what, but wanted to get your input.
Thanks so much!
- Buddy and Bunnytrap
First, I'm assuming you've read at least one strat guide for Al'ar. Beyond that, I want to cover some key things you'll find will make your raiding life easier. For phase 2, one thing we learned the hard way is right at the start of the phase everyone should be grouped up (we gather around the big flag at the North end of the room). Otherwise Al'ar just flies all over the place after the dps with the highest threat coming out of Phase 1, and the tanks try to run him down. That's major damage hitting the dps at best, the healers at worst if no one's in melee range. By all of us being in one place, the tanks know exactly where the bird is going to head.
Everyone's spell detail needs to be set at max to be able to see the Flame Patches, and even then you really have to be watching for it. You can adjust your Spell Detail by going to Options Menu (esc key) -> Video Settings -> Spell Detail and move the slider to max. Normal raid members can take about 1 tick of Flame Patch before they die, so running out of it asap is critical. Also pop a HS, heal pot, and/or bubble (priest/pally) while you're running out, especially if you start out in the middle, and not on an edge. To be honest, we still loose a couple of people to them, though. Transparent pink floor ftl.
We use 2 bird add tanks to manage the OT situation. Killing the adds is critical since each of their deaths damage Al'ar for 3% of his health. Be sure this is a dps priority. The issue, though, is when they die they explode, dealing AoE damage to anyone near by. Melee need to be out of range when this happens. The tanks have the adds near walls to prevent taking fall damage and keep the adds separated so there's no damage overlap.
The entire raid needs to spread out for Al'ar's Meteors. Our raid looks like one giant scatter drill. Be sure you use all of the room (except where the adds are). Wherever it hits is where Al'ar is going to spawn, so head that way to resume healing. Al'ar has no cleave, so if you need to run through him at any point it's a non-issue.
Now, to healing specifically... For phase 2 we have 3 healers on the 3 MT's (taunting due to Melt Armor), 2 healers on the 2 add tanks, and the rest on raid healing. For your setup, I would recommend priest, pally, and druid on the MT's, two priests on the add tanks, and the shamans on raid healing. With all of the running around, you want good coverage (HoT's, PoM, quick heals, big heals) on the MT's. The add tanks move some, but it's burst movement, so the priests should be able to keep up with them. These healers need to be aware when an add is about to die so they're ready for the additional damage. The shaman need to be where the dps'ers are. I think ours move from adds to Al'ar and back again as necessary.
Here's a general healing assignment for 6 or more healers:
/# For Al'ar Phase 1/2: Paladin1 (West), Priest1 (East), and Druid1 (East) on MT1, MT2, and MT3. Priest2 on AddTank2, Priest3 on AddTank2, Rest on Raid; (Dir) is the platform you heal after Quills until the tank is determined
If you only run with 2 MT's (because they're both hit capped and can't get taunt resists), then just remove the MT3 from the assignment. Also, if you have more paladins than priests as some point, substitue them in for Priest2 and/or Priest 3. Just keep your trifecta on the MT's.
This is a mana intensive fight, so the healers should be using mp5 consumables over +healing when possible. If you're running at less than 8k health buffed, chomp some +stam food. The free TK mana pots are great, too. If you have a ret pally, make sure a healadin is applying Judgment of Wisdom to Al'ar in phase 2. It'll help the ranged dps with their mana issues, too. For me personally, I found the speed enchant to boots is somewhat helpful. This isn't the only fight you have to do tons of running.
I hope this helps. Happy bird hunting!
If you have any bosses that are stealing your lunch and eating your cookies, feel free to drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and maybe I can help!
Marcie Knox has been healing lead for over a year, including old school AQ40/BWL/Naxx. She has suffered through holy priest and now basks in the glory that is healadin. Her pally is supposed to be living it up on a 3 days per week raid schedule (darn you ZA!) and gives a special shout out of congrats to her hubby on his Illidan shield!