With repeated attempts into the sub-20% range, I'm ready to expound upon healing Heroic Lich King (10-strict). This fight very nearly requires that you have a disc priest in your raid: they will very likely be your co-healer. My own guild, Vortex, has chosen a resto druid as the second healer to aid in the final phase's AoE healing and movement requirements, but we are fairly confident that any other healer could handle that spot.
EDIT: well, we killed him, US-first and world-second kill for strict-ten's. I added a few notes to the final phase; this is the strat that worked for us!
"WTF I'm tank healing?"
With the disc priest put to bubble-shielding the Infest, your primary job as the second healer will be keeping the two tanks alive. For the sake of limiting the movement of the DPS, don't stand with them: stand either in between the ranged and the tanks, or on the other side of the tanks from the ranged dps group. This prevents others from having to move away from your shadow traps. Also, always make sure you are within running distance of the adds so that you can drop off your disease on them. FYI, it is safe to stand in front of the Lich King: he has no cleaves or cone attacks.
Below is a general diagram of how we handle Phase 1. Light blue is the platform, light gray is the inner circle, blue dot is the useless ice blocked dude, and the dark gray is the outer, cracked ring of the platform. Purple circles are example shadow traps that we've moved away from :)
Rejuv, lifebloom, and regrowth: try to keep all three running on both tanks as much as possible. Use nourish around them, and cast it proactively rather than reactively. You should (hopefully) have between 1/4 and 1/2 mana left at the end of this phase, if DPS is strong. For the sake of mana, I recommend letting the lifebloom stack bloom off of one tank or the other (only one at a time) whenever possible, but here are a few conditions:
- do NOT bloom when both tanks are low health, as you can't immediately restack them; get one tank up to higher health before letting the other bloom.
- do NOT let both bloom at the same time or you'll be scrambling for GCDs to restack both.
- do NOT let the add-tank's bloom when s/he has an enraged shambler, or has two shamblers and there is no Tranq shot in the raid. Keep it rolling and bolster her with nourish.
Don't hit a shadow trap, and don't run in front of the shamblers. Be very aware of where EVERYTHING is around you: this can be difficult when you're glued to the tanks' health bars, but it is very necessary.
If you have ghoul aggro, don't let it stick on you long. Call out for a tank to taunt them off of you, or run them to a tank, if necessary: ghouls have a nasty habit of dazing you while you're trying to escape an incoming shadow trap.
"Hope the RNG gods put enough diseases on the shamblers."
As LK nears 73%, get yourself towards the outer rim of the room without letting HoTs drop. Make note of how many adds are up, and definitely make sure the add tank maintains full HoTs. As the Lich King reaches 70%, he will transition as normal, and you can let HoTs momentarily lapse off of the MT until he begins picking up spirits. Mind that you don't cross in front of the shamblers while moving forward.
Make sure the group splits roughly half and half on the shelf, sort of like so:
We have the shambler tank cross over to the far right of this diagram, while the MT picks up spirits and tanks them in the center of the dps' cluster.
Keep full HoTs running on the OT until the shamblers are dead of diseases; the little ghouls won't hurt much and only require a rejuv or so to heal through. As the MT picks up and begins tanking the spawned spirits in the middle of the group, begin reHoTing him and keep the HoTs going, though allow your lifebloom to bloom off for mana. Use an innervate in this phase if you need it, otherwise use it early during the next phase.
"Let's do the Defile Dance!"
As the group is running in to meet the Lich King again, get full HoTs rolling on the MT if they've dropped at all and be ready for some big hits, as the Lich King's buff stacks from Phase 1 may not yet have dropped off. Keep some HoTs rolling on the OT, as well, until the spirit she is tanking from the transition is dead: the MT will be taking far more damage, however.
Ironically, this is probably the easiest phase for me. While the disc priest is back to raid-bubbling around Infest, I go back to tank healing... but we only use one tank, so I don't have to maintain two lifeblooms again. In normal mode, we choose to swap tanks for soul reaper, but for heroic, we've moved to a single-tank strategy, using cooldowns for every reaper to shield the tank. This allows me to keep HoTs rolling on the MT at all times, and allows our OT (prot pally) to focus on just maintaining soul-reaper cooldowns and stunning the valkyr. The OT should periodically be taunting to ensure she maintains secondary threat on the Lich King in case the MT dies.
You will need to watch ALL timers. They are all important to you.
- Infest: if the timer is ticking down and someone is missing a shield (due to bubbling fail, disc priest taken by valk, or the target loosing their shield to standing in a defile), the disc priest needs to CALL OUT who is missing the shield if they will need help clearing the infest. In cases where 2-3 people in a party missing a shield, things like the moonkin or a feral druid using tranquility is a great split-second rescue; otherwise, the MT-healer can usually save those couple people. A ret or prot pally can be asked to use lay-on-hands to counter a disastrous infest, as well.
- Defile: the group needs to move out of the center circle to drop these. About 3-5 seconds before it goes off, run yourself up towards the throne side of the platform so that, if you're targeted, it'll drop the defile harmlessly out of the path of everyone. Just don't run far if a valkyr is about to spawn. We have most of our raiders drop their defiles up in this region, while a few of our dps scatter to the sides. The key is making sure the defiles are not in the center of the platform (it's hardest when it's on tanks) and that all raiders scatter from each other in the seconds before defile is dropped. Having a largely ranged-dps raid aids in this.
- Valkyr: be close to the center. It's the same as normal mode, which you should, by now, be able to handle :) My only note here is that you try to refresh lifebloom to full on the MT before the valk swoops down in case you're the one grabbed, so that the tank has more time with HoTs while you're in the valk's clutches. If you are the one grabbed, make sure to call it out, so that your co-healer knows they need to cover your job and so that others know they may need to blow extra cooldowns/potions.
- Soul Reaper: the raid needs to maintain a cooldown rotation on the MT, assuming you are not tank-swapping. As the reaper begins to tick off, spam nourish so that it will quickly offset the health drop, before the tank takes another hit. If you are tank-swapping, monitor it so that you can catch both the drop in health from the first tank, and the incoming hits on the second.
For a general idea of the movement, refer to these diagrams:
Note that people are avoiding putting a defile puddle at their back, as compared to the dead center of the room. This is because if they were picked up, the valkyr would take them over that puddle, which would inhibit melee assistance as well as possibly drop them into the puddle when they are freed. Using a pair of example defiles, you can see by the red-tint where you don't want to stand when a valk is about to spawn (unless you're a warlock with a teleporter at your back).
As with normal-mode, make sure the group doesn't transition past 42% without grouping at the edge of the platform together. Don't let the group move to the edge until after a valk spawn, and mind defiles: push him to 40% only when there is no risk of either a) people getting caught in the middle during the transition or b) people getting valk'd while too close to the edge for a rescue.
"Hai, I can haz mana?"
I generally heal everyone during this phase. Similar to the first transition, sans the adds, though I recommend having both tanks picking up spirits to split the damage they're taking; keep them both lightly HoTed, but you can give your lifebloom button a bit of a breather in favor of rejuv and wild growth, with nourishes to quickly boost someone who the Pain and Suffering debuff is stacking high on, or tanks.
Innervate again if you need it: the next phase will be intensive.
The group can just step onto the platform and work immediately on killing the leftover transition spirits. In the meantime, we had the MT and healers work their way towards the center platform to pre-position themselves; this worked because we had such mobile healers. This first bit doesn't last long: just get HoTs rolling on anyone who needs it, as the whole raid will shortly be Soul-Harvested. Also, make sure no one stands in front of the adds' silence-cones.
With the whole raid getting sucked into sword-land, group up immediately in the center, then follow a pre-determined "leader" (likely a tank or melee appropriately marked) around the room. Heal everyone. Rejuv-blanket, wild growth on cooldown, swiftmend as emergency. Use every GCD. This is going to be hard when you've also got to be following someone through the shifting maze of falling bombs. I really suggest having that leader be vocal in vent about movements, ie "going a bit towards the center" or "moving a bit further, watch the bombs behind us" or "hold up here, don't go too far," being the vocal shepherd while you're distracted by keeping everyone alive.
A few notes:
- The sword-phase is the best time for a bear tank to provide an innervate to healers.
- Anyone who takes an ankh, battle res, or soulstone after the group is sucked into the sword will have that time peacefully unmolested on the platform, where they can heal themselves, rebuff, and poke the Lich King. I don't suggest having people suicide needlessly for this... but it is a good use of people who get pancaked by spirit explosions.
- About 5 seconds before the sword phase ends, get HoTs restacked on the MT.
We kept non-tanks out of the center line of the room (north to south) aside from dropping traps, because they used this line to kite the Lich King back and forth each add spawn. We aimed to keep it free of defiles, and the soaker (be it the OT or a dispersioned shadow priest) would hop in to absorb a chunk of explosions; all other players needed to steer clear of it. If you, as a healer, get out of range of one of the tanks, let your other healer and the tanks know over vent so that they can cover appropriately while you get back in range.
You can take one ghost hit at a time (two if you have a priest bubble plus barkskin). Use your barkskin to help shield against impact. Spread out a bit from the rest of the group, and constantly be on the move so that you can pop rejuvs around the raid while keeping the MT standing. Don't stand right next to the tank in case a defile drops. A range mod set to 10 can help you with keeping clear of others who are taking an explosion near you.
Once the leftover transition adds are down, the raid will focus on dpsing the Lich King and killing the flying spirits. Just focus on staying alive and keeping the whole raid up, especially the MT around the Soul Reapers. Have your raid make use of all available CC and survival mechanisms to handle the spirits: moonkin typhoons, dispersion, frost traps, etc.
...good luck :)
Nazantia: "So that was Kae's fault?"