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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: What Celestial Blessings tells us about warriors

Matthew Rossi

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

First, you should read this - it gives you a solid overview of what the Celestial Blessings fights require from a tank or melee DPS. Now that you've read that, I figure I'll spend this column taking the lessons of my day spent doing Celestial Blessings (about two hours of attempts all told before I finally got the cape) explaining what the quest taught me. I did both the melee DPS and tank options several times, ultimately settling on the tanking quest after four 5% wipes on Wrathion on the melee DPS challenge.

I'm of two minds about these quests. On the one hand, I'm really happy I got through them - I feel like it was a worthy achievement and forced me to use a lot of my toolkit. Getting Wrathion reliably to 5% feels like a moral victory, especially because the four times he killed me I was killed by being inside his cone despite the graphic showing that I was outside of it - that feels like cheating, you dragon jerk. Doing the tanking challenge definitely is easier than the melee DPS one, purely because it's easier to control the tanking challenge. Sure, Wrathion will do his level best to take damage and die, but almost all of it is something you can work to prevent.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors What Celestial Blessings tells us about warriors
So, what did I learn from doing this questline? (Warning - much of this sounds like griping, because it is griping. If you don't want to read griping, then don't read any further.)
  1. Kiting is not our friend. Our big three AoE talents (Shockwave, Bladestorm and Dragon Roar) are either on too long a cooldown or do too little damage to be of much use on the blood adds Wrathion summons during the melee DPS challenge, and running away from the adds means you're not generating rage. Not generating rage means you don't have the DPS to kill the adds. It basically compounds the problem of any mobility fight for a warrior and our relative lack of survivability.
  2. Second Wind is practically a necessity for these fights. I can see how you might be able to do them without it, but I wouldn't recommend it. Impending Victory relies too much on being in melee range (same problem as above) and Enraged Regeneration, despite being on a 1 minute cooldown, still won't be up when you need it. Second Wind kept me up for most of my melee DPS attempts and is why I got the kill tanking.
  3. There are a lot of abilities you don't remember to use - you will have to use them. Get that Shield Wall macro ready for the melee DPS challenge. (I know you won't need it in 5.4, but unless you have a time machine that's not for the next month at the least.) Use any possible DPS cooldowns even when tanking. Get very comfortable with your Pummel button.
  4. Pay attention to the irritating ramblings of Xuen and Niuzao. They tell you what you have to do. Of course, once you've figured it out, being lectured by Xuen that you have to interrupt Wrathion's Blood of the Deathborn when you just missed it because you were out at range when he started casting will completely infuriate you.
  5. Finally, our lack of self healing, our fragility compared to other classes, our tendency to need to be in melee range to generate rage on fights designed to keep you from being able to be in melee range reliably, and our fairly unimpressive cooldowns mean that these fights are effectively designed to be harder for a warrior than almost any other melee or tanking class. When you get through them, you can feel proud that you did it on hard mode - no healing Wrathion on the tank fight, no way to generate rage while kiting adds on the melee fight, a ton of damage you can't do much at all about.
Now, this isn't to say that these fights won't be difficult for anyone who does them - I'm really not looking forward to doing the melee DPS fight on my shaman, I may start working on my ranged DPS set now just to forestall that - but I do believe just about any other class would have an easier time doing that fight than a warrior. My shaman could use Flame Shock and Lava Lash and just Fire Nova them all down while staying well clear of them, for example. As a warrior, if I want to use Whirlwind or Cleave, I need rage. I can't get rage at range outside of one or two abilities like Battle Shout or Berserker Rage, both on relatively long cooldowns.

I did spec arms for my later melee attempts and felt a definite improvement. Using Bloodbath and Thunder Clap/Sweeping Strikes means you can put out better damage and then Heroic Leap away and let the bleeds tick on the adds. I wasn't kidding before about making sure you're conversant with your entire toolkit - Demo Banner and Intervene, Heroic Leap, even Charging a distant add to get out of Wrathion's cone, hitting those Pummels (and you're going to want to spec for Disrupting Shout) and saving up rage so that when Wrathion casts Inferno you're sure you can AoE. Arms is better for this because you're much more likely to have a Thunder Clap ready to go, and you don't have to do a lot of damage to prevent Inferno, you just have to hit the real Wrathion. In general, fury seems way too dependent on being in melee to get through this, yet paradoxically lacks enough self healing to burn down the Bloods and stay alive. Second Wind made it feasible but in practice, dealing with the adds while avoiding Wrathion's leap and cone of doom wasn't tenable.

The tanking challenge requires that you execute everything as well as possible - in that regard, it's actually less forgiving than the melee challenge, which you can miss one or two Blood of the Deathborn casts on because you can just run out of them. But on the tank challenge, it's not about how much damage you take, but how much Wrathion takes, and believe me if you miss a single Blood of the Deathborn cast Wrathion will stand in that thing like it was a mud bath to clear up his pores and not a zone of fire and death quickly killing him. Frankly, since three of the five tanking classes have some form of heal they can use on Wrathion, they have a lot more slop room than we do. Similarly, even with Enraged Regeneration, Impending Victory or Second Wind, our self-healing is behind, and more importantly our tanking DPS is bottom of the barrel, so even if you're executing flawlessly you'll take a lot longer to kill Deathwing and thus Wrathion will have more opportunities to take damage and start crying about it.

Again, you need to get comfortable using your entire toolkit. You need to remember to drop your Skull Banner and use Recklessness to help burn Deathwing down faster. (I recommend waiting until you have some Vengeance stacked up). I actually did the tank challenge in mostly DPS gear, with 2 pieces of warrior tanking tier for the 2 piece set bonus. I found that it was more important to stay in range and interrupt Blood of the Deathborn than even to worry about my own survival, as Second Wind would work to keep me up once I got that interrupted. You'll need to use every mobility trick you have, not to avoid damage, but to get out to range in order to use Charge as a cheap stun and to make sure you can pick up the Bloods before they hit Wrathion. I found keeping Deathwing stunned as much as possible was the best way to get through this fight. Also remember, on the missile phase, you can drop a banner directly in the path of one of the elementals and not have to worry about blocking that side at all. I used Mocking Banner for the first one because it lasts 30 seconds, meaning it does the best job of eating the most missiles, and it also means any adds that spawn during that phase will come to you. You'll still have to run to block the other three sides, but that's better than four sides.

To sum it up., these are fairly challenging quests. They demand you make the effort to use abilities you may have forgotten you have. They definitely showcase some of our weaknesses (long cooldown AoE talents, a need for melee range to get rage making kiting very difficult for us, our relative fragility as DPS and our middling self healing compared to other tanks) and you'll have to work hard to overcome them. If you are like me, and you hate fight elements that may or may not happen (getting a bad cone from Wrathion while trying to burn down the bloods) then the tanking challenge may be your best option - from taunting Deathwing to interrupting Blood of the Deathborn to keeping him stunned to hitting Intimidating Shout to fear him and the adds so you can bandage, the tanking challenge is a fight you can effectively control, and as long as you keep it controlled the only real difficulties are in low tank DPS and Wrathion's delight in finding new ways to take damage. Why do you stand in Molten Arc, Wrathion? If I miss just one pummel, why do you immediately stand in a pool of molten lava? Why do you run to the center of the area and let missiles pound your face in, forcing me to run around you like an idiot and take them with my face? Why, Wrathion? Why?

Still, either way, once you get it down you get a nice cape.
At the center of the fury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, from hot issues for today's warriors to Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors and our guide to reputation gear for warriors.

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