Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Avenger's Shield: Heroic Lower Spire

It's that time of year again: the snow is all melted, the sun is shining, and underclassmen venture out of their dorms into the upper quad to play some Frisbee or, as is the case with underclasswomen, sunbathe (making my walks through there quite enjoyable, nudge nudge), whereas us upperclassmen are bogged down with projects, papers, and presentations. The joy of finals.

Rest assured, I haven't quit altogether. Somehow, I've managed to continue raiding and, as a guild, we've managed to get some progression under our belts. Now that my 10-man team is working on the last of our heroic bosses (Sindragosa, not Lich King) before we go back and do normal-mode achievements for our drakes, I'd say it's past due for some more tanking guides. This installment will be the meat and potatoes concerning the achievement Heroic: Storming the Citadel (10 player); the Lower Spire!

Note: While some of these strats can be duplicated to great effect in 25-mans, some cannot, and as such I feel compelled to warn the reader that these strats are concerning heroic 10-man ICC only. I will loot heroic 10-man and heroic 25-man loot so you can salivate at how sexy some 277 gear is.


This big ol' pile of bones only has a few new mechanics in the heroic version. His Coldflame ability will now remain on the ground for 8 seconds, rather than the original 3. Hopefully you don't have any hunters so everyone can stand in melee range, and only the tanks have to worry about Coldflame. If you have one, well, they can just move on their own; as long as they're quick, they shouldn't have to worry. What my main tank and I do is set up a sequence for laying down patches of flame and moving on. Let me show you:

As usual, face Marrowgar away from the raid, so his back is to the entrance of the antechamber. Patches of flame will radiate outward towards you and the other tank. Start in the B position. Both you and the other tank should be stacked smack in the middle of the B position, so when Marrowgar lays down a Coldflame, you both can move to C. Once in C, Marrowgar will lay down some fire in C, so move to A. Rinse and repeat. You'll have to run over a little bit of flame, but it shouldn't be too bad. Even if you start in A, you'd have to go to B, then C, then back to A, so where you start is rather irrelevant; I simply chose B as its the most convenient with regards to normal tanking. If, after a Bone Storm, Marrowgar is in an awkward position, then just readjust your ABC sequence to where he's facing and have your DPS/healers readjust their positioning.

The other, more wipe-causing, change is that Marrowgar will toss out Bone Spikes during Bone Storm. It is imperative that you get these people out quickly, because if Marrowgar decides to brostorm near (or heaven forbid, on top of) someone who has been spiked, it's game over for them, not to mention that the increased duration of Coldflame will mean that the blue fire will accumulate quickly during this phase, so it's very possible that someone will be spiked on top of some flame. Moar heals, quick DPS is all I can say about that.

Other than the greater damage output and higher health pool, this HM isn't too bad. Pay attention to these two changes and you'll see that cookie crumble.


H10m: Bonebreaker Scepter, Marrowgar's Scratching Choker
H25m: Bracers of Dark Reckoning, Legguards of Lost Hope


If you've done the 25m encounter of Deathwhisper, you shouldn't be too surprised at the occasional Mind Control here and there, just CC them and continue on. Other than the scaling (more health/mana, harder-hitting adds, etc.), there's a VERY important tank mechanic for phase 2: she is immune to taunt.

Let me restate that: you'll be feverishly slamming your 969, trying to outthreat your DPS, who are currently hitting 15% harder than normal. I have to tell you, it's a bit stressful. Keep on top of handing out Salvs, TotT's, and other aggro-dropping or threat-reducing mechanics you have at your disposal. Also make sure to switch seals to Vengeance if you were using Command to wrangle in some adds.

An additional add will spawn from the rear of the room during phase 2, so have your DPS switch to it and blow it up. The current tank can try to pick it up, but the other tank (who should have quite a few stacks of Touch of Insignificance; I'm not sure how many stacks we go up to, but it is almost definitely not the full 5) won't be able to do much.

Still watch out for ghosts and MC's, kite away from Death and Decay's, and manage your threat properly, and you'll have a kill in no time.


H10m: Ghoul Commander's Cuirass
H25m: Broken Ram Skull Helm, Juggernaut Band


Hehe, censorship. Good one, Google Image Search.

Honestly, there's almost no difference in tanking this encounter. I'm sure Muradin (or Saurfang) hits harder, but I wouldn't know because my main tank NEVER LETS ME JUMP OVER! Anywho, missle strikes (indicated by the flashing graphic on the ship's deck) cause a knockback of a few yards... at least, I'm pretty sure it was a few. I saw our DK get hit by it and he only went back maybe 5,10 yards.

Edit: According to WoWWiki, the rockets have a 7 yard knockback. I was close!


H10m: Abomination's Bloody Ring, Neverending Winter
H25m: Boneguard Commander's Pauldrons, Corpse Tongue Coin


This encounter on heroic is more healing-intensive than anything, as Saurfang gets Blood Power much more readily. Blood Beasts hit harder, and by harder, I mean that when they gain the Scent of Blood, they'll one-shot anything that isn't a tank. They also move a lot faster than on normal, which, when coupled with the previous change, means that an unslowed, unstunned beast is a cruise missile with a vengeance. Make use of a healthy amount of stuns and slows to prevent anyone from getting nom'ed.

As always, switches are very important, especially considering you'll have little margin for error with Saurfang's increased health and your healers' limited mana pools. Enough sloppy switches could mean lengthening the encounter (since Saurfang heals when he's attacking a target with Rune of Blood), more than likely resulting in a wipe, so keep your finger poised over your taunt and pounce on that mofo as soon as your other tank gets the debuff.

The most important aspect of this fight, in my opinion, is keeping your Marked targets alive. If a single Marked target dies, Saurfang heals for 20%, again more than likely resulting in a wipe.

So, to recap: keep Marks up, stun, slow, and kill beasts, tank swap on Rune of Blood, burn him. I put those in the order of importance for giggles.


H10m: Conqueror's Mark of Sanctification (or another Mark of Sanc, if you're not a paladin and you're cheating on your other blogs), Deathforged Legplates, Gargoyle Spit Bracers
H25m: Conqueror's Mark of Sanctification (heroic), Conqueror's Mark of Sanctification (yes, apparently H25m end-wing bosses drop one heroic mark and two non-heroic marks)

That about wraps up the Lower Spire. Good luck in there!

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