Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Priest Healing Encounter: Illidan Stormrage

Let me preface this by saying the reason I have chosen the illustrious Illidan Stormrage for this particular explanation is because many guilds, at this point, have either stopped raiding, trying to finish BT, or trying to progress/farm as much of Sunwell as they can before the expansion rears it's beautiful, exciting head. I thought this might be a helpful guide to you priests who are in guilds who have gotten past RoS, Teron, and Council, and are ready to face the Betrayer himself. Hopefully this guide will prepare you for the encounter. /giggle.

How to Prepare
(I'm sorry, I'll stop. Heehee)

Bring all of the basic consumables. Personally I'm more drawn to the extra Intellent (and find it's cheaper) of the Flask of Distilled Wisdom over the regen of the Flask of Mighty Restoration. Bring fishsticks, some spirit scrolls if you only have CoH priests, and anything else as you see fit. Use elixirs at your own disgression, though I tend to lean towards the Draenic Wisdom and Elixir of Mastery combo.

Phase One

Phase one healing is the easiest phase by far. The way my guild does it is to have all casters and healers stand in the middle of the grate, while the tank and melee dps move Illidan away from the fire around the edge of the grate.

As long as the tank doesn't miss a shield block (Illidan's tank must be a warrior) for a shear, he will not be taking an obscenely ridiculous amount of damage. However, when the tank does take a shear, which significantly reduces his health (our tank drops to around 8k max HP) for a short period of time, be ready with Power Word: Shield, prayer of mending, and be spamming greater heal 7. If healers aren't on top of their game, the tank will die almost immediately. It is also helpful for the warrior to hit last stand, which increases his health, but sometimes it can be difficult to remember. His shear ability is the one he is casting when he jumps in the air and comes down on the tank with swords out.

The only other thing to worry about in phase one: Illidan will randomly target a person in the raid (it can even be the tank) and put a debuff on them, causing 3000 damage every 2 seconds, for 10 seconds. Once the 10 seconds is complete, two shadowfiends will spawn on top of the person. The MOST important thing here is to kill the shadowfiends as quickly as possibly. They will randomly target another player who is highest on the global threatlist, and if they get close enough to the player to melee attack them, the player will receive the debuff causing damage, and the shadowfiends to spawn on them as well. This ability is called Parasitic Shadowfiend.

If you are targetted for this, a message from either Deadly Boss Mods, Big Wigs, or an anxious guild mate will pop up on your screen, telling you that you have it. At this point, you need to move outside of the grate, away from the raid, and stay there until the shadowfiends spawn. Once they spawn, it is safe to move back to the center of the grate. If the tank receives the debuff, the melee must move out.

That's phase one in a nutshell. Pretty easy, unless the tank takes a shear.

Phase Two

Phase two of Illidan Stormrage is arguably the most difficult phase of the encounter. This, my friends, is where the Circle of Healing priest shines.

This is the way my guild does it: Each group stands closely clumped together on the different points on the grate. Group two stands on the north end, three to the west, four to the east, and five to the south. Melee dps's the flame that is the most safe, and healers/casters in the melee or tank group stand in various other groups. Our two fire tanks tank the flames on opposite (East/West) sides of the grate, keeping them far enough away from the grate. Because this is a healing guide, I'm not going to go into what exactly the tanks/melee are doing, because as long as they're not being dumb and running through fire, thus needing heals, they are no concern of mine.

Flame bursts will hit each group every few seconds, where Circle of Healing is key. We usually have 2-3 CoH priests in the raid, so keeping these people up is pretty easy, unless the flames decide to continually bash down on us without a break (Which has happened before.).

About every minute or so, someone in the raid (again, it could be anyone), will be afflicted by a debuff called Dark Barrage. This is a KILLER debuff. And I mean that quite literally. This debuff will cause 3000 damage every second for ten seconds. Paladins can bubble out of it, mages ice block, hunters feign death, rogues cloak, but for priests, warlocks, warriors, druids, shamans, but most importantly priests, the only thing to do is heal through it. The heals have to be quick, and well chosen. Generally, the first thing I do is throw a shield on the person, absorbing at least one tick, giving the rest of the healers time to get off a heal. What will happen is the person will go from about 3% health to full, once everybody's heal ticks, so use Prayer of Mending for instant health and start using flash heal.

During the rest of the phase, Binding heal could potentially be your best friend. Binding heal is my favorite spell, hands down, and it is especially useful for this encounter. So if, like me, you hadn't used it before, consider putting it on a hotkey for both this fight, Kalec, and even Council. When you're not spamming CoH, it's really quite nice!

Something to worry about, but not really for your sake, is a fire tank being hit by an Eye Blast. If any player comes in contact with one of these (which spawn from the swords in the ground and move towards one of the elementals), hits the person for 20,000 damage, which, almost instantaneously, kills them. This is what wipes raid the most, only closely followed by raid deaths due to fire blasts. If you can get past this phase, you're almost in the clear.

Phase Three

First thing, ahem, SPREAD OUT. Don't be within 5 yards of another player. If you have DBM or Big Wigs, it should have a little box pop up to tell you if you're too close to someone, and do your best to move away.

This phase is almost identical to phase one. He will spawn shadowfiends, use shear, and trail fire that the tank must move away from.

The main goal of DPS is to get the shadowfiends down ASAP. The person targeted by the debuff needs to move away from the raid, preferably to the back, so that the shadowfiends don't reach other players once they spawn. Remember to heal these people, the debuff does cause damage. You may have to adjust yourself position-wise, because these people tend to move out of range, and quickly. Even while you're moving to help them, stay as far away from other players as you can, because of another ability called...

Agonizing flames. Again, Illidan will target someone, a big blue flame will fall down on their head, and if ANYONE (including hunter/warlock pets) are within 5 yards of the targeted person, they will receive the debuff as well. This debuff causes an initial 4000 damage, and 3000 damage every 5 seconds for 1 minute. The kicker to this one is that the DoT will increase as the debuff remains. This person will need intense and constant attention from healers. The key to avoiding it is to just stay spread out; don't hug your best friend. When you are afflicted by it, try to keep a bubble on yourself as often as you can, and a renew ticking, PoM whenever the cooldown is up. Binding heal can also be useful here, on a tank.

That's phase three. It's not too difficult, people just have to be on top of things.

Phase Four

Phase four is hard. Hands down. During this phase, a warlock will be tanking Illidan off the to the side, and he'll need at least four healers. Trick is, you still have to be spread out. If anyone is standing near the warlock tank (who is in shadow resist gear) they will be hit for around 11k shadow damage and (most likely) die.

Illidan will also send out a flame burst every ten seconds, which deals around 4k damage to everyone in the raid. Additionally, if you are standing near someone else in the raid, there will be splash damage, and you will take more. Again emphasizing the need to keep spread out. Also another key instance in which Binding Heal is life saving. Circle of healing is virtually useless here because no one is grouped up. Flash/binding heal will be your primary spells, not excluding PoM and renew in the least. Everyone needs to be at full health, because remember that another one will come in 10 seconds.

The most difficult aspect of phase four is when Illidan spawns shadow demons. Four will appear under his feet, targetting a player. This player will have a purple line connecting them to the demon, and they will be incapacitated. The demons slowly move towards the player, and it is helpful for a mage to frostbolt, or hunter to ice trap them to slow them down further. If the shadow demon reaches it's target, the player will die, and the demon will target another player, incapacitating them, and killing them if they reach as well. The demons are the priority of this phase, and a reason to stay as far away from Illidan as possible. During the shadow demons, there will still be flame bursts, so be ready to heal the raid up even though there is chaos.

Another reason not to stand too close to Illidan is because he has an aura that deals 1000 shadow damage to anyone in range, and stacks a debuff, increasing shadow damage taken.

Illidan will alternate between phases three and four until he reaches 30% health.

Phase 5

Phase Five will begin when he reaches 30%, at which point he will imprison everyone in the raid in a 'Shadow Prison'. You are immune to damage, and can't move, but Illidan is a little preoccupied with Maiev Shadowsong, who has come to help you finish him off. (A great time for mana regen, phew!)

The prisons will remain intact for 30 seconds, and after they break, your warrior tank will need very fast healing. PoM, bubble, renew, and then the basic GH1 and/or flash heal. This point in the fight will be exactly like phase 3, except Maiev will scuttle about, placing traps. Don't let your raid be fooled into thinking that just because Maiev has placed a trap that you should automatically drag Illidan over. Sometimes it is just plain unsafe to do so. She will place traps when he has a soft enrage, increasing his damage output and speed for a period of time. This is generally when you would drag him to a trap, which incapacitates him and makes him vulnerable to damage.

However, as a healer, you really need to be aware of your surroundings at this point in the fight. Once again, I implore you, SPREAD OUT. It is imperative that you don't take the splash damage from Agonizing Flames, and remember to run to the back of the raid if you are targeted for shadowfiends. Keep raid healing up, and yourself up. This phase is very frantic and is often grounds for a wipe because people get excited and sloppy.

Illidan will also switch to demon form, and have all of his abilities from phase 4 available.

Rinse and repeat until he's dead. Then you get a nice little conversation in while Maiev realizes that a hunter is nothing without her prey, blah blah, where's my loot.

So remember:

- Key spells are Binding Heal and Renew, and Circle of Healing during phase 2.
- Remember to SPREAD OUT. And let your raid know if you have the Agonizing Flames debuff, and especially shadowfiends.
- Don't panic, relax. Remember, even though this is fun and you're getting into it, if you panic, chances are that you will goof up.
- Stay away from tanks at all times, whether it be the warlock tank, or warrior tank. Getting close to Illidan is a no-no.

If you have any questions, or this was in any way unclear, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to help out :) Good luck, and get the Memento for me!

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