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Encrypted Text: Rogue tips and tricks for Firelands, part 4


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

In order to challenge Ragnaros in the Sulfuron Keep, we have to defeat his fire-loving cadre that blocks our way. Baleroc acts as the Spire's gatekeeper, preventing us from crossing the chasm between us and Ragnaros. After dispatching the first fours bosses in Firelands, we knock out Baleroc to make our way across a fiery bridge to dethrone Ragnaros himself. Unfortunately for us, Rag's newest Majordomo, the former archdruid Fandral Staghelm, is guardian the entrance to the Spire. Luckily for us, we just picked up a Gatecrasher from Baleroc's smoldering corpse, and we're ready to cleave our way through whatever Staghelm throws our way.

The Staghelm fight is fairly simple for rogues. We're focusing on nuking the boss for nearly the entire fight, and that's exactly the type of encounter we shine in. Staghelm does have a few adds he spawns, though, and they need to be taken down quickly. Combat rogues are uniquely suited for burning these unwelcome guests down, due to Blade Flurry. Blade Flurry can boost your DPS on this encounter by nearly 20%, and combat's extra expertise helps us attack Majordomo from the front.

Staghelm the scorpion

During the first of Staghelm's rotating phases, he transforms himself into a scorpion. While we normally don't care about the appearance what we're plunging our daggers into, this druid's Scorpion Form comes with a few special abilities. Actually, there's only one ability to watch out for -- Staghelm will use his pincers to cleave the raid with a powerful Flame Scythe. I'm not sure why he transforms into a scorpion and decides not to utilize his giant stinger. If rogues had Scorpion Form, we would totally make use of a powerful, venomous tail. In fact, turning into a scorpion and dealing massive poison damage would be an awesome new rogue cooldown; I'd better forward this idea to Blizzard HQ.

Even though the Majordomo isn't smart enough to use all of his tools against us, his Flame Scythe is deadly enough. It deals a massive amount of AOE damage to anyone in front of him, split evenly between each player. In order to minimize the effect of the attack, your raid will likely have everyone stacked up in front of the boss, soaking up each Flame Scythe. I'll tell you to spam Feint here to halve your AOE damage taken, but you already know that. Feint has become one of our defining moves in the raid environment, and it's by far our most-used non-damaging ability. If you're worried about dying to a late Flame Scythe when you're low on health, you can use Cloak of Shadows to negate the damage completely.

Staghelm will be able to parry our attacks since we're standing in front of him, which will in turn lower your overall DPS. Combat rogues are obviously less affected since they're likely to have a ton of expertise rating already, but everyone's damage will go down nonetheless. I've heard rumors of a sweet spot where we're still included in the Flame Scythe spread while our attacks are exempt from parries, but I've never been able to find it myself.

Cleaving cats

Once your healers are tired of holding their breath every time Flame Scythe goes off, everyone will split up, and Staghelm will morph into a fiery cat. Once the transformation is complete, you get to go back to what you do best -- standing behind an enemy and hitting him with your weapons. Staghelm's primary special cat move is leaping at ranged targets, leaving a pool of fire behind.

His second ability lets him spawn Spirits of the Flame for you to deal with, and that's where Blade Flurry gets its chance to shine. You simply turn on Blade Flurry whenever there's a Spirit of the Flame active; you get to attack both the boss and the adds at once. Make sure to position yourself so that you're in melee range of both targets, and watch as your DPS soars.

While combat rogues will easily take first place, assassination rogues will be struggling with the frequent target swaps. Assassination's burst is weak, and without any poisons active on the Spirits, our damage potential is much lower than most other classes. Obviously, assassination rogues can make up some of the difference by dealing more damage to Staghelm himself, but not enough to tip the scale in their favor.

Ignore the orbs, eat the seeds

During Staghelm's second scorpion phase, he'll stun everyone and implant a Searing Seed into each raider. Each Searing Seed will explode when the debuff timer expires. The catch is that everyone's debuff timer starts out with a different amount of time, meaning that you'll have people running in and out of the group for a while. When your own debuff is about to expire, wait for 4 to 5 seconds remaining, use Feint, and then run out from the group. The seed's explosion is considered to be AOE damage, and so it can be mitigated by Feint. You can also try to use your Cloak of Shadows to become immune to the explosion, although Cloak itself won't remove the debuff.

When the Burning Orbs are released during the third cat phase, just ignore them. Your ranged DPS and healers will be rotating themselves in and out of the orbs, almost exactly how melee classes were stuck rotating for Baleroc's crystal shards. You get to focus on eliminating Staghelm while they play the world's most dangerous version of musical chairs.

Sneak in every Wednesday for our Molten Front ganking guide, a deep-dive into the world of playing a subtlety rogue -- and of course, all the basics in our guide to the latest rogue gear.

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