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The Light and How to Swing It: Retribution in the Firelands, part 2

Dan Desmond

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. This week, Dan Desmond walks you through the Firelands.

Before we delve into some strategies for dealing with another two bosses within the Firelord's domain, let's have some quick words about the most recent Censure hotfix. Yes, it's a marginal DPS increase, made even more marginal if you need to switch targets often and drop your stacks -- but the important thing is that Blizzard's working on it. Trust me, more buffs are coming.

Last time, we covered some tips for dealing with Shannox and Lord Rhyolith. This week, we continue the two-for-one deal and bring you two very add-centric fights, Beth'tilac and Alysrazor.

Beth'tilac, the red widow

I really hope you're not arachnophobic. The Beth'tilac encounter is rife with spiders of all shapes and sizes, and you'll need to squash the lot of them before the fight is over. As a ret paladin, there are about three different jobs you could be performing, depending on your raid composition and raid leader's diabolical schemes.

Spinners and Drones This job involves pulling down Cinderweb Spinners via taunts and killing them, then switching to the Cinderweb Drone. We are uniquely suited for this job because we have two great taunts available to us: Hand of Reckoning and Righteous Defense. While Hand of Reckoning is point-and-shoot, Righteous Defense can be used with a bit more finesse. If the Spinners are targeting a specific healer, you can cast Righteous Defense on them, bringing down up to three of the targets attacking them. Alternatively, you can cast Righteous Defense on one Spinner and hope that its target has two other Spinners attacking it. In short, we have the ability to pull down four Spinners at once. Go ahead and flex that off-spec taunting muscle.

After all of the Spinners are dead (there should be three waves of Spinner spawns), switch to the Drone in the southwest corner and kill that as well.

Spiderlings There will be three groups of Cinderweb Spiderlings spawning from the northwest, northeast, and southeast corners of the room. If you're assigned to kill these, make sure they don't reach the Drones that will be spawning in the southwest corner of the room. Seal of Righteousness and Divine Storm are your friends here. Also, see if your raid leader can pair you up with someone who can slow the critters; it will make your job a heck of a lot easier.

Mama Beth Some guilds send DPS up top with the tank and heals to chip away at Beth'tilac before she comes down for phase 2. If you do get tossed upstairs, taunt a Spinner, grab its web, and ascend. Your tank should pick up Beth, so just get in a position to attack her from behind. Watch out for pools of lava up on the web, as they signal the location of an incoming meteor from Beth'tilac's Meteor Burn. When the meteor hits it will create a hole in the web, so stay on your toes.

When Beth's energy bar reaches zero, she will begin an 8-second cast called Smoldering Devastation that will essentially one-shot anyone unlucky enough to be stuck on the web with her. When she begins the cast, just down from her web through the hole in the middle and fiery filaments will slow your descent. Once the cast is complete, more Spinners will appear, and the cycle begins anew.

After three Devastation casts, Beth'tilac will descend from her lofty perch and then the burn phase will begin. If any Spiderlings reach her when she drops to the ground she will restore 10% of her health per crunchy arachnid consumed, so make sure to clean up the adds beforehand. Aside from that, all of the DPS and healers should be stacked up behind her opisthosoma (that's a fancy word for "butt") with the two tanks at the front, at least 10 yards apart from one another. A stacking Frenzy buff, in addition to her frequent Ember Flare casts, means there is a soft enrage here. During this phase, liberal use of glyphed Divine Protection is recommended. Otherwise, line those cooldowns up with whenever you want to hit Bloodlust/Heroism (my raid group waits until she's at about 40% so that the healers enjoy a little boost as well) and squash this pest.

From her loot table, you will notice that the Arachnaflame Treads are the only things worth mentioning. When you compare these to their BOE counterparts, Warboots of Mighty Lords, they fall a bit short due to the haste. Of course, this is all presupposing that you could use the full value of the hit rating on the Warboots (or even 60% of the hit, after reforging), so choose wisely.


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... well, it's a bird, actually. Truth be told, Alysrazor is just about the hottest bird you've ever seen, with one of the coolest pull animations since Sapphiron. Every rose has its thorn, however, and this bird is no different. Do you remember all of those fights where a patch of fire would spawn under you and you had to move? Remember how inconvenient that was? Now imagine that fire patch moving around, accompanied by rotating flame jets and errant fire tornadoes, and you have an inattentive raider's worst nightmare.

There are two options for how you will spend most of the fight as a ret paladin. The first is less than ideal, while the second is much more likely.

For a good portion of the fight, Alysrazor will be flying around, confident in her vertical advantage over you. In her arrogance, she will molt and drop Molten Feathers. Click on three of these and you will gain Wings of Flame, a mechanic that will allow you to soar through the air and bring the pain to the haughty avian. To stay aloft, you will need to fly through rings of fire and gain the buff Blazing Power, which will refresh the duration on Wings of Flame, and also avoid Incendiary Clouds. If you let Wings of Flame drop off, you will be the one dropping, so pay attention!

The reason I mention that this role is less ideal for a ret paladin is because of the superhuman jockeying you will need to do to stay in melee range of Alysrazor while avoiding clouds and flying through rings. If you want my opinion, leave this job to the ranged DPS classes.

The much more likely scenario you will find yourself in involves interrupting and killing adds on the boring old ground. Blazing Talon Initiates will spawn periodically and begin casting two different spells. The first is Brushfire, which is uninterruptable and spawns a moving fire blob that you obviously want to avoid. Important to note is that it spawns in the direction the Initiate is facing, so as long as your camera is not looking down on your character from geosynchronous orbit, just use some footwork to sidestep the problem.

The second cast is called Fieroblast. This spell is interruptable and in fact should be interrupted every time it is cast. Not only does it hurt, but if the Initiate successfully casts one, he or she gains a buff called Fire it Up! that will make subsequent casts much harder to interrupt.

Meanwhile, the tanks will be picking up Voracious Hatchlings that hatch from Molten Eggs. Whatever you do, do not be standing next to the eggs when they hatch! They will become Imprinted onto you, and nothing you do (aside from dying) will get it to go away -- not even Divine Shield will get it to ignore you.

Other than that, the only other things you will need to avoid are the rotating Lava Spews of Plump Lava Worms and Alysrazor's Blazing Claw, which she will cast while sweeping through the center of the encounter area. These patterns are fairly regular, though, so if you are paying attention, you should be able to avoid them easily.

Feel free to chip in on some Hatchling hurtin' in between Initiate spawns, but your tanks should be able to handle those with ease. After a short time, Alysrazor will remove the Wings of Flame buff from all players and fly in a tight circle in a sort of transition phase, producing a number of fire obstacles that you need to avoid. She will spawn a Fiery Vortex at the middle, and she will produce Harsh Winds near the edge. What this means is that you can't try to cheat and avoid the following ability.

Fiery Tornadoes are the bane of many of the raiders in my guild, as I'm sure is true for many other guilds as well. I found a short 12-second video clip illustrating the very basic orbiting pattern of these tornadoes. For those without video access, all you really need to do is follow a tornado in its path until another tornado passes you on either side, then switch to that "lane" and follow the new tornado. I know it can be tricky, especially with spare Brushfires moving about every which way, but keep at it.

After a short while, Alysrazor's sugar rush will run out and she will fall to the ground, exhausted and drained of Molten Power. This is where you should use cooldowns and hit Bloodlust/Heroism, because she is under the effect of Burnout. Ignore the Blazing Talon Clawshapers that spawn, as it will be up to your tanks to interrupt and hold them; if you try to be a hero and pick one up, know that it will attack you instead of continually trying to cast. The DPS and healers should be stacking during this phase, in preparation for what is to come.

When Alysrazor reaches 50 Molten Power, she will become Ignited and cast Blazing Buffet every second until she reaches 100 Molten Power and casts Full Power. From the mouseovers, you can plainly see that this is all Fire damage, so again, glyphed Divine Protection becomes a lifesaver. Hitting Holy Radiance while stacked wouldn't be a bad idea, either. When she casts Full Power, everyone will be knocked back a fair distance and the cycle resets. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you get a kill!

From her bag of goodies, there are a few choice items that we need to consider. The Greathhelm of the Voracious Maw and Alysrazor's Band are two very nice pieces, especially considering that you won't see another ilvl 378 helm until Ragnaros. Lavaworm Legplates are very nice as well, although the tier legs, Immolation Legplates, are also very juicy and are purchasable with VP. My opinion: If you don't have your tier legs yet, go ahead and pick them up. If you already have your tier, they aren't really worth replacing unless you are in desperate need of hit.

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.

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