If there is one fight in Dragon Soul I could have taken out of the developers lab and down to the local park to shoot, Deathwing’s Spine would have been it. It has all these elements that comprise a fun fight: a gimmick roll, adds to kill, adds to not kill, and a tight schedule to keep, but it is so bloody boring. The fight itself is long, the 3 plate pops reminds me of the 3 strikes and you’re out mode of Zelda without the cute animations, and it does not engage the raid team consistently.
The fight also gives you lovely brownie points if you spend a chunk of your raid night whisking your raid team to their capital city to reforge and respec which totally screws the nice momentum leading up to the fight. It’s also one more thing that has to be fixed before the final boss can be conquered, or a new raid week starts. I actually goofed on Monday night and forgot to respec back to my standard talents: I’m just lucky that there’s a shadow priest in my ranged group for ZoZo so I didn’t wipe the raid.
Last night, as we’re floating down again, I had visions of purple oozes and Tranquility, and wondered why Spine couldn’t have such a lovely raid wipe component. I know I wasn’t alone. Endearments such as I hate you all and explanations of the fight were being tossed around. I just hate hitting a road-block as we’re on our repeat kill.
The upside of all these attempts, is I think I could do Spine in my sleep. The hardest thing, I’ve found, is to try to not auto-pilot on the fight. While I don’t have the time to do a more formal write-up for a healing/raid team, I thought I’d share how I’m handling the fight on my druid.
I don’t dispel things on the Spine, so I’ve actually gone back to a furor build just for this fight.
Although it’s not necessary, it’s sure fun to pop a Tree form right away. Your raid team will be running around taking out tentacles, and you’ll see a ton of debuffs. Don’t panic! Just give ’em a light dusting of heals and wait for the roll! As soon as you’re firmly attached, pop Tranquility, and watch as the debuffs fall away.
Between the Roll #1
Roll your LB on your amalg tank. The goal on debuff management, is to have one clearing as the second shows up. Sometimes you’ll spike up to 3, but you’re healing team is behind if you’re up to 4. My healing strategy is simple: Wild Growth, Rejuvs on ooze tank and debuff folks, Efflo on cool-down, and a healthy dose of nourish when I’m out of HoTs to cast. I usually try to toss out Healing Touch on clearcasts, because bigger is better for getting that debuff cleared up.
Keep the Amalg as a target or focus target and keep an eye on its health. When it reaches ~10%, start rolling HoTs across the raid and pop Barkskin. As soon as HoTs are out, prioritize your debuff targets and get the debuff off pronto. If they’re still low (DBM has handy bars to track the debuff’s strength) screw Nourish and use Healing Touch. Once that is done, and if your raid team needs the extra dps, go ahead and attack the tendon. You’ll get a couple of people with debuffs doing this, but it’s not a huge issue.
Rinse and repeat for the second amalg. Between 10-20%, you can go ahead and pop your Tree form and work on stabilizing the raid team for another Amalgamation hit. The plate should fly off, and you’ll want to move towards the center of the newly uncovered area. Transfer your LB to the ooze tank: it’ll stay on this tank for the rest of the fight. You’ll also want to do your best to provide another blanket of HoTs as you prepare for your second roll. As soon as you’re anchored, pop Tranquility.
Between the Roll #2
There’s no significant changes here, just more damage. By now, you should have used an innervate, although mileage may vary on exactly when you use it for the first time.
Roll number three is the most dangerous point for your raid team health wise, and healing between your 4th amalgamation and the roll will need to be aggressive and raid-wide. Your raid team should be expending every raid cooldown they can afford during the 3rd roll.
Between the Roll #3
Raid damage is on the cusp of out of control for much of this phase. Your ooze tank will be kiting for his life, and will need extra love. Don’t wait to use tree form for this one: pop it as soon as it becomes available. Tranquility should be up for amalg #6, and you’ll need it! Your raid team should be blowing most of it’s major cool-downs for the last plate lift.
Or a gruesome death above the frozen sea. Usually I’d just chalk it up to fun either way, but I just can’t bring myself to feel that way this time around. #shakefist