As promised, I’d like to take an in-depth look at healing ToGC 25-man Anub’arak as a restoration druid. There are a few things I’d like to try and cover including strategy, positioning, talent specs, gear, useful addons, and healing composition. Secondly, at the end of this post, I’ve got our 25-man ToGC Anub’arak video of phase 3 (sorry, I don’t have fraps and Skysech only caught phase 3). Don’t bother looking for me, I’m sitting underneath Anub’arak hiding behind our off-tank so I don’t get wacked by the nerubian burrowers.
This is more for informational purposes. No matter whether you are a dps, tank, or healer, a solid understanding of the entire fight is necessary in order to succeed.
The is mostly the tank and spank portion of the fight for the main tank. However, Anub’arak does have a few abilities during phase 1 that healers should be aware of. The first of which is Freezing Slash, which inflicts additional froststrike weapon damage and freezes the tank in a block of ice for 3 seconds. As a resto druid, you will notice the tank taking some extra damage when freezing slash is cast. Just make sure you’re keeping a full set of HoTs up on the main tank during this phase and be prepared to swiftmend if necessary. For the most part though, the holy paladins in your group should have no problem keeping the main tank topped off with the assistance of druid HoTs, disc priest bubbles, shaman earthshields, etc.
The second ability that occurs during phase 1, and phase 3 for that matter, is Penetrating Cold. Penetrating Cold is a ticking debuff that will be applied to 5 random raid members doing 6,000 damage (on heroic) every 3 seconds for 18 seconds. This is a repeating debuff and it will be pretty much kept up on 5 raid members for the majority of the fight while in phase 1 and phase 3. In our raids, I found that tossing a rejuv and lifebloom or wildgrowth on the 5 targets was sufficient to prevent death during phase 1.
The third and final ability that Anub’arak uses during phase 1 is the summoning of 4 Nerubian Burrowers. These must be tanked on an ice patch in order to prevent them burrowing underground. We dealt with these adds by having one or two rogues and a hunter using misdirection abilities to send these adds to our off-tank standing on the ice patch. I found that the off-tank only needed a rejuv and a lifebloom throughout this phase. For the most part I leave the direct tank-healing to our holy pallies (who are amazing btw); don’t get me wrong here…I’m ALWAYS supplementing their healing with partial or full HoTs. The one nasty ability these nerubian burrowers have is a mean Shadow Strike, which tends to target a raid member furthest from them and smacks them for upwards of 40,000 damage. These are interruptable and on a relatively predictable timer (our ret paladin used DXE I believe to monitor and interrupt this ability). Basically, not something a healer needs to worry about, just something that must be done throughout phase 1 and phase 3 (not cast during phase 2).
Note: Frost orbs are of the scarce resource variety in the heroic version of the Anub’arak encounter. There are only 6 spawned for the entire duration of the fight, hence they must be managed well.
During this phase, Anub’arak burrows underground and summons numerous swarm scarabs. The goal of this phase is to blow up the swarm scarabs very quickly, without letting them enrage or melee raid members. If the swarm scarab becomes enraged, it becomes immune to stuns and slows – need a hunter using tranq shot or a rogue doing whatever they do to remove the enrage buff. The thing to avoid during this phase is being melee’d by the swarm scarabs. The reason being = Acid-drenched mandibles. This debuff is applied with each melee attack, can stack to 99, deals nature damage every 3 seconds for 1 minute, and makes life very hard for healers. The swarm scarabs can be stunned, shackled, rooted, frozen, etc. as long as they aren’t enraged – so use the abilities you have to avoid getting the debuff. My healing job during phase 2 is to keep the off-tank alive while the dps finish off the second pack of nerubian burrowers and regenerate mana.
The second major issue during phase 2 is Anub’arak’s Pursuing Spikes. Now, different guilds will handle this differently. The basic idea is as follows: kite the pursuing spikes for as long as possible, then hop over the ice patch since the spikes cannot penetrate the permafrost. Now, as mentioned above, there are a very limited number of frost orbs in the heroic version. In order to deal with this, we used paladin BoPs to protect the targeted raid member from the spikes so they could kite for a longer period of time before hopping over the ice patch. This allowed us to only use 2 ice patches during each phase 2 since each kiter could kite the spikes for approximately 20 seconds each and Anub’arak stays burrowed for 45 seconds. The positioning used for phase 2 will vary based on your guild’s strategy so I won’t go into detail on that subject.
After 45 seconds, Anub’arak re-emerges from the ground and we’re back to phase 1. This cycle will repeat until Anub’arak’s health is brought down to 30%.
In the heroic version, all the abilities from phase 1 are retained. This includes freezing slash, penetrating cold, Shadow Strike, and the summoning of 4 nerubian burrowers at the same intervals. However, the major additional ability that Anub’arak gains during this phase is called Leeching Swarm. Leeching Swarm is an ability that leeches 30% of every single raid members CURRENT health every 1 second, this leeches a minimum of 250 health and heals Anub’arak.
Leeching swarm is a difficult thing to control during phase 3. Most guilds use very specific class abilities to counter the leeching swarm ticks without healing Anub’arak more than the raid can dps. Our guild used shadow priest Vampiric Embrace, holy paladin glyphed Holy Light, paladin Judgment of Light, shaman glyphed Healing Stream Totem, the occasional priest holy nova, and a rank 2 Wild Growth to keep our raid members around 2k health during the fight.
Penetrating Cold during phase 3 requires a different strategy than used during phase 1. I’ve written and discussed this a bit previously. However, I will re-iterate the main points here just to be thorough. Our raid make-up for healing consisted of 2 holy paladins, 2 resto druids, 1 resto shaman, and 1 discipline priest. Penetrating cold during phase 3 is made very deadly due to leeching swarm and the fact that each raid member is sitting at 2k health or less for the entire time. What this means is that each penetrating cold target must receive a 6-7k heal within 3 seconds (penetrating cold first tick hits 3 seconds after the debuff has been applied) in order to live. This requires a great amount of healer organization, coordination, and teamwork. Our approach was to assign each holy paladin 1 raid icon to holy shock for the first tick, assign one resto druid one target to heal, assign the other resto druid a primary icon and a secondary icon (one of the paladin’s targets), and assign the resto shaman a primary icon and a secondary icon (the other paladin target). The discipline priest was responsible for solely bubbling and reducing damage taken by the tanks and raid members. The holy paladins were responsible for healing the main tank and off-tank. As far as I know, they were using Beacons and spamming holy light. In addition, one resto druid was also using a rank 2 wild growth before and after each penetrating cold hit in order to prevent deaths due to leeching swarm ticks. All healers were using either Vuhdo or Grid with the extra addon as described in my previous post here in order to be able to easily visualize the raid members targeted with penetrating cold and their raid icons.
As a restoration druid in this fight, my strategy during phase 3 was to spec and glyph into healing touch in order to be able to easily throw out 7k heals in about 0.8 seconds. I was also responsible for throwing up a rank 2 wild growth before and after a penetrating cold had hit the raid. In between penetrating colds, I attempted to maintain a rejuv, regrowth and lifebloom on the main tank and off-tank. This didn’t always happen depending on how much time I had in between penetrating colds.
In my previous post, I put up a screenshot of my current talent spec for the Anub’arak fight. However, that has changed a bit based on a couple of issues we had and some new information we obtained.
Firstly, healers were having issues with generating more threat than the rogue/hunter could overcome in order to direct the nerubian burrowers over to the off-tank. Our strategy to overcome this was two-fold: 1) the resto druids specced into Subtlety and 2) the paladin’s worked out a BoP rotation for the holy paladins to drop their threat during phase 3.
Second, based on some new information from Think Tank, we realized that the Master Shapeshifter talents in the restoration tree also affected Anub’arak and was healing him for 4% extra per resto druid. Hence, those talents had to be dropped from our healing touch specs.
Thirdly, as I have mentioned previously, I was having some mana issues during phase 3 due to healing touch spam and the loss of my innervate to the holy paladins. Thus, seeing as both the resto druids had to drop Master Shapeshifter talents, we both picked up 5 points in Tranquil Spirit. I noticed a significant difference and had no trouble with mana last night on our kill. With these changes, it was unnecessary for me to use Flask of Pure Mojo or mp5 food and I was able to maintain my phase 3 healing without mana issues using my customary Flask of the Frost Wyrm and Fish Feast food buff.
My final talent spec for the Anub’arak boss fight: 14/0/57
For this fight, I make a couple of item swaps. The main goal being to give myself around a 0.8 second healing touch. Mostly, I make sure I put on a couple pieces with a bit more haste instead of crit and I equip my Idol of the Avian Heart to buff up my healing touch. I usually end up with around 500 haste. The only downside to stacking more haste in my own personal opinion is the fact that you run into issues with the GCD. I feel trained at this point for a 1 second GCD and if I’m running around casting a healing touch that is faster than 1 second….I sometimes found myself missing my heal on my primary or secondary target because I thought I already had gotten the spell off. This results in a death 😦 So, I’m not very convinced at this point that stacking more haste is a good thing since for the most part I am not casting HoTs during phase 3.
Our Video of Phase 3!!!
Thanks to Skysech for this video 😀
Finally, after about 3-4 weeks of wiping on Anub’arak, we just one-shot all the bosses in the Trial of the Grand Crusade and downed Anub’arak! Idiocracy picked up three new achievements: Call of the Grand Crusade, A Tribute to Insanity, and Realm First Grand Crusader. Unfortunately, I was a bit slow with my screenshots lol, but I have plenty to show you all. I also plan on doing an in-depth post about strategy, mostly healing-related since that is my focus and I have the most information to share on that topic.
Idiocracy is now ranked 61 in US servers and 149 in the world!
It was also a pretty good night for me as I picked up Vestments of the Shattered Fellowship, Chalice of Searing Light, and Maiden’s Favor. All in all, a fantastic night for our guild, and I for one was shaking for a good 10 minutes after we killed Anub’arak.
Grand Crusader Fîrewood