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Raid Rx: Cheater's guide to healing heroic Val'kyr Twins

Matt Low

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.

So the good news is we managed to get Twins down on heroic. The 25-man iteration is largely more challenging than the 10 man due to the amount of coordination required. There's two methods for taking down Twins and I'll go over them in detail here. One is the traditional method which stresses individual ability to dodge balls and the other is the not-so-traditional method which relies heavily on lady luck.

The traditional method

While there is an enrage timer for the encounter, between any power ups from the essences that your DPS receives, it should not play a detrimental role. The fact that your raid has gotten this far should be evidence enough that the DPS is present.

Healing setup

I like to bring at least 6 healers for this. The damage is noticeably higher and you're going to need as much healing as possible. Ideally, you'll want to include a few healers with instant casts like druids or holy priests. I'll explain why later.

So in the playbook, the basic outline here is that a majority of the DPS is going to pick up the Dark Essence and unload on Lightbane (the white angel). They're going to be grouped up in the middle of the room with the twins tanked fairly close to each other so that incidental AoE will affect both of them (Divine Storm, Chain Lightning, etc). Granted players with the dark essence aren't going to do a whole lot of damage to the dark angel, but damage is damage.

With most of the DPS grouped inside as dark, the remaining players are going to have to pick up the Light Essence. The idea is that with the dark players on the inside, the light players will form a ring around them and intercept any light orbs that are coming in and move out of the way of dark orbs.

The healers best suited for movement are druids and holy priests since they have an easier time healing on the run. Granted, it's not likely your raid is going to have a full complement of druids and priests. Any paladins and shamans are better off standing in the middle with a dark essence.

Ideal numbers for essences?

  • Light essence: 8 - 9 outside with about 2-3 healers
  • Dark essence: 16 - 17 inside
Your shamans should have a fairly easy time with dark essence'd players alone. Chain heal is a big boost here and paladins sporting a glyphed Holy Light can be placed with maximum Holy Light splash on players around them.

As a holy priest, I did this as a light essence'd healer on the outside ring. I can assure that I am a professional ball catcher. Here's what I did:
  • Remap strafe keys: I actually did this a long time ago, but I unbound my A and D keys from turning left and right respectively. Instead, I rebound them to strafe keys so that I would immediately move left or right.
  • Change the camera angle: I did this fight looking straight down on to my character. There is better perception on which direction the balls are going.
For the sake of logistics (and healer sanity), you might want to keep light essence players in groups 4-5 or something. Ideally, all light essence players should be within range of each other. The healers should be able to target any light essence player.

Pay attention to the ball angle. If there's a light essence coming in, it might not be necessary to move to intercept it if it doesn't look like it's going to hit the dark group in the middle.

So here's the burning question you're probably waiting for:
What do we do when a dark shield comes up? With so many players as dark essence, will we be able to punch through it?
When selecting light ball catchers, you'll want your best ranged DPS there. As a healer, if you spot a safe opening and think you can do a bit of DPS without compromising the raid, feel free to do it. Raid integrity matters the most. Don't assume that the 5 or so light essence players can bring down the shield on their own. The dark essence players (all of them) will have to switch over as well. There should be enough DPS to bring them down. This is a great time to use internal cooldowns and even pop a Heroism to speed up the process further.

The first four special abilities will always be different. The worse case scenario you can get is obtaining the dark shield again on the fifth special ability. Hopefully, your group should be able to take them down by then.

One more thing I almost forgot to mention.

Individual players will receive a debuff called Touch of Darkness or Touch of Light. The player who has the debuff is going to experience a bit of damage. In order to shake it off, they need to grab the essence that is the opposite of what they have. For example, since I'm light essence, I might get Touch of Darkness. The only way out is if I hustle over and click the dark essence to nullify and remove the effect.

But, the effect will wear off anyway after several seconds. Most healers opt to simply heal through that damage. I would strongly recommend adding the two debuffs into your debuff tracker. I know VuhDo and Grid can be configured to show when certain players have certain spells on them.

The luck-based method

I'm not going to endorse one method or the other. I'm just here to highlight different ways healers can get through the challenges that each one offers.

Healing setup

Every player except for one of the tanks picks up a dark essence. The entire raid is going to be focus firing Lightbane. The twins are to be positioned in front of the raid entrance. Healers and ranged will want to tuck in as far back against the gate as possible.

Of the two methods, this is slightly easier since the healers on the outside don't have to worry about movement. Heck, ball management is removed from the equation outright. Any hits the raid take from light orbs can be healed fairly easily. The tank who is at the front should be able to intercept a majority of light balls that come in anyway.

Now, there are two problems with this approach.

Light Vortex

With 24 players under the dark essence, a light vortex is going to completely slaughter every raider. In order to survive this, every raider is going to have to do everything they can to survive:
With Mages and Paladins using their invulnerable abilities, this allows Divine Hymn ticks to intelligently heal the players who are going to need it. Use every survival cooldown possible.

If pulled off successfully, your raid can survive one of these without any problems. The cooldowns will not be there to survive a second Light Vortex in the same attempt. If you get a Light Vortex on abilities 5 or 6, it's going to be a wipe.

Dark shield

There's nothing the raid is going to be able to do. Even if all cooldowns are used, your raid won't be able to pop the bubble. Ideally, the Dark Shield will be the first special ability. Then you'll have 3 more abilities after that to DPS the twins down. It's also going to need ability 5 (and 6 if it comes down to it) to not be a dark shield either. If the dark shield comes on the 3rd or 4th special ability, it's almost a guaranteed wipe since the twins will heal for an enormous amount of health. You'll be right back at square 1. With the enraged timer, you won't be able to go through that cycle again.

As you can see, many raid leaders would frown at using this as it requires a certain amount of luck to get the right combination of special abilities. When going for Tribute to Mad Skill or Insanity, it's going to be largely impossible to get those since it could take a number of wipes before the ideal special ability combination is used.

But at the end of the day, a kill is a kill. Both approaches have their own unique set of difficulties for healers. Good luck!

Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.

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