Thursday, April 29, 2010

ICC10: Sindragosa Hardmode

My guild has a knack for doing things differently. In this case, we went out of order: Heroic Putricide seemed nigh-impossible, so we opted to work on Sindragosa hardmode, first. I took great amusement in looking down the 10-strict world progression list on guildox and noting that of all the 10/12s, we're the only ones with Sindy but not Putricide :D

I digress. Sindragosa normal mode is difficult enough to learn, so I thought I'd give some tips on hardmode based on what we learned.

Raid Makeup:
  • 2x tanks (we used pally MT, warrior OT)
  • 3x healers (we used two resto druids and a resto shaman)
  • 5x DPS, physical/magical mix (we used lock, ele sham, feral druid, hunter, mage)
To be honest, the best healers you can get for this fight are those that are mobile. If you can stack three resto druids, do it! Holy priests would also be decent, and one specced with the speed-bubbles can be useful for rescuing slow players during Novas and speeding the tank to picking up the dragon after air phases. We had to force our poor turkey into tree-spec to get this done: the insta-cast HoTs are rather OP in this fight. He had top healing on the kill.

Differences from normal-mode:

In addition to heavier damage, there is an AoE explosion whenever stacks of the Instability debuff (from Unchained Magic) fall off of a player. This will impact your strategy a bit.
  • P1: we decided to have our two afflicted players split to either side of the main ranged group: the healer went right (same side of the room as our tank stands), and the magic DPS went left. Thus they could continue casting, exploding periodically safely out of range of the rest of the raid.
  • Icy Grip/Nova timers need to be carefully monitored, so that stacks drop off BEFORE you are gripped into the dragon with all your friends. If you miss your timing, try to cast a few times (hots/dots/instants) as you run from the dragon to keep your stack from exploding, though sometimes you will loose the Unchained Magic debuff at the same time and you'll just explode anyway. Err on the side of caution.
  • P3: limit your Instability stacks in this phase as much as possible, and attempt to LoS your Mystic Buffet stacks farther away from the ice block so that you do not explode on other players if you do have Instability. Whenever possible, try to explode when you're at low Mystic Buffet stacks. This will take some trial and practice.
In addition, getting caught by Ice Bombs during the air phase will one-shot any player (assuming they don't have some tank-saving cooldown on them).

LoSing Stacks:

I didn't put too terribly much thought into this, myself, but Beruthiel at Falling Leaves and Wings put her sanity to the test figuring out all the eccentricities of the ice blocks' LoS capabilities. Check out her post if you'd like a quick Power Auras import for monitoring stack size, and tips on positioning (including part of the dragon and watching your z-positioning/vertical axis from the floor).

Frost Resist:

Some guilds have run the whole raid in frost resist gear to mitigate the amount of raid damage going out. Vortex decided to limit the frost resist gear to the tanks only (those breaths are painful), and rely heavily on the healers to keep everyone alive. Your choice on frost resist gear for the DPS/healers will probably depend on your healer class makeup: those that are more mobile (druids, holy priests) will have an easier time healing the raid than those who are more stationary casters (shaman, pally).

Enrage Timer:

After some playing around with the timing, we opted to use our bloodlust/heroism as soon as she landed after the 3rd air phase. Getting a 4th air phase meant the enrage timer would kill us, and using it before the third air phase meant (often) that part of the bloodlust would be wasted by the following air phase. We used the bloodlust to push her into P3 before she went into a 4th air phase.

If you are having further difficulties with the enrage timer, try to position your P2/Air Phase ice blocks in the center of the room, thus limiting how far your raid has to move during transitions before resuming DPS. Our raid did have to move our blocks to the center circle of the room and learn the new positioning, rather than running to the corner of the room as we did for normal mode.

P3 notes:

We had our tanks taunting back and forth every 6-7 stacks of mystic buffet. To avoid sharing a frost breath or cleave, we had them flip the dragon around 180 degrees every time they traded: thus, the next tank would taunt from the tail, being careful to not be tail-whipped. They needed to call out in advance about the taunts (about 5 seconds before the swap) so that healers could get HoTs rolling on the new tank and ensure that they had range on the new tank.

We put our P3 ice blocks in parallel line with where Sindragosa's head would be each time she flipped. This kept them close enough together that (in most cases) we could reach both tanking locations from both block locations with heals.

Healers: pump the ice-beaconed player with HoTs as they run to their ice block location. The block itself will do massive damage to them (if they are low health, it will easily kill them), and the HoTs will continue to tick after they are blocked to heal them up. Rejuv + lifeblooms are effective.

The DPS could, generally, skip every other ice block for dropping their buffet stacks (assuming the current ice block was not a healer), and our ele shaman helped to heal while she was behind the ice block. We decided to assign our caster DPS (lock, mage, ele shaman) to killing ice blocks full-time, and our physical dps (hunter/druid) only helped with healer ice blocks.

IF A HEALER WAS ICE-BLOCKED: we immediately dpsed down their block as quickly as possible. Healers would call out that a healer was being ice-blocked, and that re-directed the physical DPS from the boss. All DPS would hide behind that block and focus-fire it down, thus limiting the healing needed on them and reducing how long the raid went with the lack of healing from the ice-blocked healer. On our kill, I (a resto druid) was ice-blocked 4 times in a row, and we had a little under a minute left on the enrage timer.

This is one of those execution fights where the whole raid needs to be on their toes. A trio of battle-resses certainly helped, too :) Best of luck!


Ram said...

As a note Kae, when I was dropping my stacks on a perfect transition I only have 6-7 stacks of Mystic Buffett.

On a few where the Iceblock was destroyed before dropping stacks they got to 8-9.

Kae said...

Fixed :) Alyae herself went up that high several times as well (even to 11-12, ouch), but it's certainly more important to note what the stacks are when the tanks swap aggro, as opposed to how high they get while running around in ranged trying to drop them!

Think this same strat'll work for all you can eat achievement? We still need to get that!

Beruthiel said...

Grats Kae! :)

Good Luck with Putricide!

Beranabus said...

Kae getting iceblocked 4 times definitely gave me a heart attack... considering i was only at about 80% of my healing capacity wearing my dps gear :|

Kae said...

Turkey-trees like spellhit ^_^

Thanks, Beru! I gotta say, I am nervous about Putricide.

Mark said...

Well at least Attack isn't the only one who heals with hit gear now ;)

I'm totally looking forward to Putricide. It's the only hard mode I haven't had a chance to see yet.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Kae, we may adjust our strategy based on some of your suggestions. We worked on Sindy for a while, then this week got too frustrated with her annoying voice and went to work on Putricide. We didn't get Putricide, but it is much much easier than Sindy, mostly demanding a little more coordination. I'm probably going to post something about it in the next couple of days.

Anonymous said...

These are some nice tactics! I'll definitly try to use them with my guild :)