Ragnaros: Healing for Two

There’s some people who can look at a log and recreate a team’s raiding strategy from the ground up. Let’s just say I’m not one of those people. Strategies, for me, are malleable creations that must be forged in the fires of death. However, I’m darned lucky to be raiding with people who love examining parses from other guilds. To compare their logs and our logs, and to see if their strategies will work for our raid team. Not every team releases raid videos, and even those that do can’t really tell you whether that team had X DPS or Y healing output.

So on Monday as we’re standing in front of Ragnaros with 9 players and one of our core healers out, we get the nudge to two-heal.

No, I’m not desperate. I’m saying this is how the fight is meant to be healed.

Since our lovely shaman and I are always up for any suicidal mission, we readily agreed to give it a try. And I’d like to report, that it was awesome. If Ragnaros isn’t a 2-healing fight absolutely perfect for Cataclysm, I haven’t seen one yet.*

The Setup

(1) Restoration Shaman

(1) Restoration Druid

How It Worked

I’ll be talking primarily about druid healing style during this section as that’s what I play.

Phase One: Traps

For clarity, we assigned the shaman to the tanks and the druid to the raid. Tank healing needed to be highly consistent as even the “off-tank” takes regular damage once the tank swap has been made. Raid healer will be assisting with tank healing as well as stabilizing raid.

The raid assignment, barring injury while lava surfing, is fairly predictable. Random players will get a burst of damage, but otherwise, all damage should come from trap activation. The key here is to not panic and allow players to gradually recover.

For this phase, I kept Lifebloom and Rejuvenation/Swiftmend stacked on the tanks, while raid members received Wild Growth and Rejuvenation/Nourish to keep healing costs low. I did try Tree of Life form in this phase, but found it mostly a ton of overhealing with questionable up-time availability for Phase Two. Lifebloom is really key here as you’ll want plenty of cheap Regrowths. Although using Innervate early (80%) early is always a boon, you really want to make sure you do it here in order to use it again early in Phase Two.

Transition: Hammer-Time

Depending on your last trap placement in phase one, you’ll either be patching up players or twiddling your thumbs. I much prefer the twiddling of thumbs strategy! Players will take heavier damage throughout the phase.

For some reason, our hunter was the one with the highest damage during this phase so he received my Lifebloom. Swiftmend placement was hard to predict, so I just used it as I saw fit. To end the phase, I made sure every damaged raid member had Rejuvenation, and swapped my Lifebloom back over to a tank.

Phase Two: Burning Seeds

The beginning of this phase was the best time for our shaman to drop her Mana Tide Totem. This way, she didn’t sacrifice our protection from fire in a raid-wide damage scenario. This is also a low-damage section of the fight as only the tanks are taking damage. Once the seeds drop, however, all bets are off. Expect heavy raid damage, and plan accordingly! We were getting 2-3 seed drops, but I imagine that it will consistently be 2 on a “normal” night. Drop 1 we used Spirit Link Totem, Drop 2, Tranquility, and Drop 3, Tree of Life.

This beginning of this phase was the best time for me to quietly regenerate mana. Like phase 1, I kept Lifebloom, Rejuvenation and Swiftmend rolling on the tanks, but other healing was not needed until the seeds dropped. For seed collapses, Wild Growth, Rejuvenation/Swiftmend, and Regrowth were my best choices.

Transition: Hammer-Time, Take 2

Tanks will need more consistent healing during this Hammer phase as they are tanking. This increases overall damage for this transition phase, so don’t plan on being able to stand around regenerating mana.

Since we had tanks tanking the Lifebloom went back to a tank. Again, Swiftmend was catch as catch can. Following this phase, the raid does not split, so I tried not to panic and overheal everyone with Rejuvs if they didn’t really need them.

Phase Three: Boulders

Healing during this phase spikes and ebbs. That being said, I always regenned more mana than I used, and so was able to liberally apply healing when it was needed. I found that there was no reason to panic if the shaman or I received a boulder and had to temporarily run out of range of the tanks.

Overall Assessment

Having now done the fight with two healers (over and over and over again!) I really think this is how it was designed. The hardest portion of the fight was Phase Two, which was generally wildly affected by how well the team did during Phase One. However, by the time you reach Phase Three, for us healers anyway, the fight is over in terms of stress. There are plenty of peaks and valleys throughout the fight that allow one to breath, but without leaving you feeling like you have absolutely nothing to do.

*In the practice of full disclosure, I’d just point out that we had an absolutely horrid night on Monday and didn’t actually kill Ragnaros despite getting him down to 15%. Sometimes you just have a crap night unfortunately, and this one was ours for this tier. However, I didn’t really think that took away from the actual effectiveness of the 2-healing strategy working, so I’m gonna talk about it despite its (for us) “proven” success.

9 thoughts on “Ragnaros: Healing for Two

  1. I think the two healers had nothing at all to do with our failure to kill the boss the other night. The guy playing from the camping trip in the woods who kept DC’ing messed up fewer times than most everyone else in the raid somehow. Like you said, it was just one of those nights where everyone somehow forgot everything they had ever learned about raiding. Stuff happens I guess.

    I’m looking forward to giving you guys another shot at this next week. Assuming the rest of the raid relocates their lost awesomeness, I think it will be quite a bit easier with the two healers and the extra dps.

    • I agree, which was why I went ahead and talked about it (that and I was super excited at how well the whole fight flowed from a healing standpoint). I’m looking forward to having just two seed drops, and then it’ll be absolute cake.

  2. We considered running 2 heals simply because our healers complain about being bored with 3, but we have a tendency to lose 1-3 people to not watching meteors and I’d feel pretty dumb if a healer died and then we wiped to P3. Getting to rag P3 clean is pretty much “hey you won, grats”, even if 5 people kill themselves we’ll still win as long as me and 2 healers are alive.

    We kind of have a long way to improve before heroic. Heroic looks rough, Paragon-in-half-391-when-10mans-take-way-longer-to-gear-up notwithstanding.

    • Our resident log-reader seems to think we’ll need the 2-healing strategy to survive heroic mode, so we’re trying to get used to the flow of things without the extra oomph.

      Being the person who always goes DPS when we get down to 2-healing crunch-time, I found it a really fun experience 🙂

  3. I seriously don’t get how the hell you managed to heal this 2 healers, maybe it’s because of druid raid healing but our guild tried this for the first time today with 3 healers, shammy(me), paladin and a holy priest.
    The paladin was tank healing 100% of the time I was on raid and the holy priest tank and raidhealing.
    just phase 1 made our paladin drop to below 50% mana and requesting a mana tide, and the transition just feelt like we did something horribly wrong or had to few stuns/slows/damage because atleast 2-3 adds hit the hammer every time wiping us.
    Do you have any suggestions or is the answer to just bring a druid?
    Would it be better to have me on the tanks and have the paladin on raid (doubt this)?

    • Personally I’d put paladin on tanks, shaman on tank/raid and priest solely on raid. Of course, you would know better than I how effective you/priest are in switching these roles, but due to the chakra state changes, and the raw throughput a holy priest brings to the table, I would find them a perfectly viable “druid” replacement ^^ Once you get to phase 2-3, your healing team in general should see a reduction in overall damage, and should have some breathing room to get mana back before the seeds drop. (Although you’ll definitely need your raid cool-downs).

      Without some more information, I can’t speak definitively about your raid situation and issues, however, there are some general notes to keep in mind:
      The raid should be *relatively* spread (6-8 yards between raid members) since there’s random fire pot-shots that knockback players (this includes tanks).
      Tanks will take consistent damage throughout the fight as they stack the buff. Just because they no longer have aggro doesn’t mean they’re not taking damage, so having a permanent “backup” of passive healing on the non-active tank is a necessity.
      You cannot have any add hit a hammer. (If this is how you’re dying, it’s not a healing issue).
      Adds will slow substantially based on damage. It is HIGHLY unlikely that any single add will be able to be quickly burned. DPS needs to balance distance to hammer vs. health/speed of mob and switch targets appropriately.
      You didn’t mention any knockbacks in your raid, but these DO work if you’re down on the wire for adds.
      Damage during phase 2 should start low and escalate. If your paladin is feeling particularly tapped, this might be a good time to mana up while shaman/priest take the bulk of healing duty.

  4. yepp we tried the healing assignments you suggested first however out holy priest said he had a really hard time on the raid, maybe we should just having the raid stay as close as possible (6 yards in between).
    On the transition phase though, I really don’t know we seemed to be lacking either means of stunning them or just DPS to get them slowed, this might have been because we tried to slow them with abilities (we had that a little wrong, evidently most slows don’t work).
    also a tip for you, I’ve heard that if you silence them just as they are about to hit the hammer they don’t explode but just vanishes, this is most likely a bug and if blizzard doesn’t fix that I’d be really surprised.

    • I had heard about the bug, but thought it’d have been hotfixed out by now. I would definitely suggest moving your raid team in, just remember that it will have to be flexible to make room for players moving out of traps.

      If you don’t mind commenting/e-mailing with your regular raid composition, perhaps I could provide some more help with that transition. I’d hate to see you get stuck there when you’d be halfway through!

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