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Shifting Perspectives: Balance druid guide to Dragon Soul, part 2

Tyler Caraway

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Balance news comes at you every Friday -- learn how to master the forces of nature, and know what it means to be a giant laser turkey! Send questions, comments, or requests to or @murmursofadruid.

And we're back once more! In our last edition, we went into some of the tricks that you can use in order to boost your DPS in the first four encounters of Dragon Soul. This time around, we'll be rounding out the rest of the encounters from the instance. Overall, the second half is a bit more challenging than the first half, both in terms of DPS requirements and raid coordination. This is where you're going to have to push yourself the most, so be prepared to pull out all the stops.

  • You'll need two tanks for Ultraxion, which will taunt off each other as they get Fading Light.
  • There have to be three players who stay out for every Hour of Twilight. These players will have to use heavy damage reduction cooldowns or immunities, or they will die.
  • There are three different crystals that spawn for healers, each that have their own unique buffs to help the raid survive. Let them fight over who gets what.

Ultraxion is the Patchwerk or Baleroc of Dragon Soul. He's a strict DPS race with relatively few mechanics that's primarily designed to see how hard you can push yourself. Due to that, your damage output on this encounter is extremely crucial. You absolutely must do everything that you can in order to push. Unfortunately for balance druids, his Hour of Twilight and Fading Light mechanic are the absolute worst in terms of mucking up our damage output.
  • Watch your timers! You do not want to use Starfall just before Fading Light or Hour of Twilight, regardless of whether your in a Lunar Eclipse or not. Starfall will not hit Ultraxion while you are phased.
  • Learn to play chicken with Hour of Twilight's cast time as best you can. Don't tempt the lag gods, but try and wait until at least 2 seconds are left before phasing out.
  • You can survive Hour of Twilight, but not on your own. With Barkskin and a tank with their T13 four-piece, you should be fine.
  • Watch your DoTs. Try not to refresh them just before phasing out if they'll proc Nature's Grace; wasting that much of the buff isn't worth the few ticks you'll get out of it.
  • Balance druids can't handle this, but Concentration Aura or Totem of Tranquil Mind are an absolute must for this fight.
Warmaster Blackhorn
  • Tanks will need to grab one of the large adds each. Don't let them face toward each other, to avoid both tanks' being cleaved.
  • Melee primarily focus on the ground adds; ranged focus on the dragons.
  • Players need to stand in the swirling purple vortexes that appear. The raid needs to group for the Twilight Onslaught, the large vortex.
  • Ranged kills the dragon once Blackhorn lands; melee focuses on Blackhorn.
  • Dodge out of Shockwave like crazy or suffer death.
Blackhorn is a horribly annoying fight that will require a lot of movement from your raid. While it's OK to miss a good portion of the small vortexes on normal, you should practice having at least two to three players in each because you have to stand in them on heroic or the ship will burn. Keep in mind that Sappers can be stunned and slowed and Death Gripped but not knocked back.
  • DoT everything -- every add that spawns, all of them. DoT them. Do it.
  • You'll be forced to move a lot in phase 1. Try to do all of your DoTing then and free cast spells once you stop.
  • Be fairly close to melee range on Blackhorn at all times. You won't be able to avoid Shockwave if you're out at range, and it'll kill you.
Spine of Deathwing
  • Kill all but a single tentacle, roll Deathwing to shake off adds, and kill the remaining tentacle.
  • A tank picks up the Amalgamation that spawns; another tank gathers up the Bloods. Get the Amalgamation low, then kill the Bloods around it until it reaches nine stacks.
  • Kill the Amalgamation, then move away from the explosion.
  • Kill the Burning Tendon.
  • Rinse and repeat two more times.
Spine is a rather interesting encounter in that it doesn't really have the traditional requirements of others out there. DPS isn't quite as important, nor is there a typical large creature that needs tanking. It's all a little screwy. The downside is that the entire encounter virtually rests on short, 30-second windows of time when you go for the Burning Tendon.
  • When attacking tentacles in order to break Fiery Grip, do not use DoTs at all. Their damage takes too long, and it will last far beyond when you need it to.
  • Once the Amalgamation is on low health, get into an Eclipse and hold it. Don't use DoTs, and don't move the bar. Just hold.
  • Save everything that you have for the Burning Tendon -- Starfall, Force of Nature, everything.
Madness of Deathwing

Madness is a difficult encounter to break down into small chunks of information because it's long and there's a load of stuff that goes on during it. Plus, how you actually complete the encounter can change drastically depending on raid composition and ordering. Here are some basics.
  • Tanks will have to pick up the Mutated Corruption, the large tentacle, that spawns on every platform. These are the primary DPS targets.
  • Immediately kill the Elementium Bolt once it spawns.
  • Tanks need to pick up Regenerative Bloods once they spawn, and these need to be AoE damaged down as quickly as they possibly can.
  • If there's nothing else alive, kill the limb.
  • If Alexstrasza is not up, then kill Blistering Tentacles whenever they spawn. These have to be single-targeted and cannot be AoE damaged.
  • In phase 2, tanks need to pick up every add that spawns, and all of them need to be killed as quickly as possible.
  • If you are targeted by Shrapnel, use Dream!
It's a lot, and the fight is pretty wishy-washy. For the most part, though, you only ever deal with one thing at a time. For phase 1, the largest concern is the order you do platforms. One of the most common and probably best orders is Ysera, Nozdormu, Alexstrasza, Kalecgos. Ysera is always first and clearly the weakest of the dragons; from there, it really becomes more a matter of the DPS benefits each dragon provides.

While Noz is an amazing personal boost, the time saved by Alex usually outweighs it. Kalecgos doesn't provide all that much DPS, but he's the main method of killing the Bloods; without him, it's ridiculously hard to do and you'll have to single-target them. He is easily the most important dragon of them all.

As for you, well, there's a lot.
  • DoTs, DoTs, and more DoTs. Always keep DoTs rolling on the Corruption and the limb on your platform. If Alex is down, DoT all the tentacles that spawn.
  • Pre-plant Wild Mushroom before Bloods spawn. You only have 10 seconds to kill them all, and you don't want to waste any of that time plopping down 'shrooms.
  • After detonating 'shrooms, Sunfire spam. You don't even have to switch targets, but spamming Sunfire will proc the buff from Kalecgos, which is far more damage than anything else.

Every week, Shifting Perspectives: Balance brings you druidic truth, beauty and insight ... from a moonkin's perspective. We'll help you level your brand new balance druid, tweak your UI and your endgame gear, analyze balance racials and abilities, and even walk you through PVP as a balance druid.

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