Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and spend thousands of gold on repairs and consumables. This week, we face an undead lady dragon with serious breath issues.
Felmyst is the third boss in the Sunwell Plateau. As you approach the Brutallus encounter, you see him doing battle with Madrigosa, a blue dragon. Upon defeating Brutallus, Felmyst rises from her corpse in undead form and begins circling around the plain where you fought Brutallus. (She's quite feisty, and will aggro if some AoE abilities are used while she flies over, so be careful!)
The encounter is an execution fight, and requires a lot of attention throughout from everyone in the raid. In terms of preparation, you don't need any resistance gear for the fight, but having a Cauldron of Arcane Protection will help mitigate some of the raid damage. The most common strategy also relies quite heavily on priests' Mass Dispel ability, but before we jump ahead to raid composition, let's look at what you'll face during the encounter.
The fight has two phases. In Phase 1, you have a single tank who needs to face the dragon away from the raid as she has a frontal cleave -- she also hits the tank with an ability called Corrosion, which deals nature damage and increases the damage he'll take by 100% for ten seconds. The rest of the raid positions itself away from the cleave and needs to deal with two other damage abilities: Gas Nova and Encapsulate. Throughout the entire fight there is a nature AoE (Noxious Fumes) which ticks constantly on the raid, similar to the frost aura found in the Sapphiron encounter. However, it's not resistable.
Gas Nova is a spell cast by Felmyst (with visible cast bar) that affects everyone in the raid with a magic debuff, hitting for 3k every two seconds and draining mana. This needs to be dispelled as soon as possible, and is therefore why many strategies involve the use of Mass Dispel as a counter. Paladins can also remove the debuff, but not en masse.
Encapsulate is the second raid ability, with no cast bar; she will turn to face a random raid member and hit them with the Encapsulate debuff, which deals arcane damage to the target and to those nearby. This involves a lot of damage, so your raid has to become very good at moving fast. Boss mods like BigWigs will call out who gets Encapsulate, but it also helps to call the name on voice and to chug an Arcane Protection Potion if you're in danger of dying from the damage. The Encapsulated target cannot move or cast spells, but can use consumables and should do everything possible to keep themselves alive. Encapsulate can hit the main tank, and can be removed with immunities like Divine Shield, Ice Block and Cloak of Shadows.
She'll take off after a while and thus phase 2, the air phase, begins. During this phase she casts two abilities at the raid. The first, Demonic Vapor, is cast twice in succession at the beginning of the phase -- it's a green beam that targets a particular player and deals heavy damage, but only moves at walking speed so the target can run away. Skeletons rise from the trail (more come if anyone steps in it) and need to be tanked by something, ideally a protection paladin with others helping out. You also need to kite the beams in a vaguely sensible fashion so that you have room to move for the second part of phase two.
Once the skeleton beams are over, she'll cast a breath that covers a large part of the ground (Fog of Corruption) which the entire raid need to avoid -- anyone standing in the green cloud becomes mind controlled and this can quickly lead to a wipe. As there are various positions for these breaths, someone in your raid (ideally not a tank or healer; we use a rogue) will need to learn the angles and coverage and call out where the raid needs to move. Generally, the raid will need to move up or down to avoid a new beam. Minor Speed enchants or other speed-increasing abilities really help, especially when learning. As you move from the breaths, kill the remaining skeletons and get ready to enter phase 1.
A protection paladin tanking the skeletons while the raid avoids getting mind controlled.
As a general idea for raid composition, you'll want around eight healers, two tanks (one for phase 1 and a protection paladin for phase 2) and the remainder DPS. As many priests as possible helps, but you'll probably want at least three (our guild runs quite priest-heavy, so we've done it with seven) -- being shadow helps as they don't take time out from healing to dispel. Main tank-wise, we found a feral druid coped better with Corrosion, but a warrior can tank it just fine.
There are different ways to position for this fight, depending on how many priests you have and the general balance of your raid, so we'll not dictate a specific layout -- Bosskillers can give you an idea, but we encourage working out positions for yourselves. In essence, you need to position your raid to:
- avoid the frontal cleave
- ensure that people aren't too tightly packed to deal with Encapsulate
- ensure that everyone can be hit with a Mass Dispel, or for certain players (especially the tank) a single-target dispel.
The main challenge with this encounter is execution. A single death can cause a wipe, or simply lead to not enough healing or DPS to survive the entire fight. Everyone needs to be aware at all times where their escape routes are for Encapsulate, be prepared to use consumables if needed to survive, and be fast to react during phase 2. Healers need to be on their toes, especially for dispel failures and healing up the constant raid damage while making sure the tank survives Corrosion. Since the tank can't build threat while Felmyst is airborne, and DPS can, you also have to be careful not to over-aggro. Skeleton aggro in phase 2 can be a problem, too - spare tanks can help out here and if the entire raid hugs the protection paladin tanking the skeletons, you should lose aggro to him eventually.
For people with specific jobs, such as mass dispelling and calling breaths, there's some useful discussion on the Elitist Jerks Felmyst thread with tips and tricks.
What you need to know and do
Come prepared with the will to survive, and a UI that shows important things like your incoming damage so you can run away the moment you realise you're being hit by Encapsulate or Demonic Vapor. Run speed on boots, Arcane Protection Potions, healthstones and healing potions are your friends. Obviously use consumables and do your best to perform your job.
Analysing wipes is a fine art; although sometimes it will be quite clear that an Encapsulate wiped the raid, and so people should move faster, at other times you'll have nothing better to say than "okay, don't make that mistake again and it's a kill". Get everyone to think what they could have done differently and take breaks when people are becoming tired and sloppy, then one attempt everything will click -- and there's your kill.
Bosskillers' take on the fight
Elitist Jerks discussion thread