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Spiritual Guidance: Sartharion with all drakes

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week Matt offers some tips and insights for the healing Priests that are struggling with Sartharion and his 3 drakes up

Welcome to the toughest raid encounter that Wrath has to offer. By the end of the first night, you will wish you decided to stay home and watch the latest episode of House instead.

As a healing Priest, you're going to be extremely valuable to your raid group. It doesn't matter if you're Holy or Discipline. You will have access to either of the two skills that will help your raid get through this encounter.

  • Guardian Spirit: For the Holy Priests, keep this spell macro'd and on your main tank of choice.
  • Pain Suppression: Discipline Priests will want to do the same thing.

My guild employs both a Discipline and a Holy Priest and I'll present the strategies used from both perspectives. Is it possible to interchange their roles? Yes. But doing so means that the classes aren't playing at their most optimized positions. When engaging Sartharion with all drakes active, there is virtually no room for error. If even one player gets careless, it has the possibility of wiping the entire raid. Actually, if one player gets careless and gets caught it will wipe the entire raid.

Hazards

Beware tunnel vision: Keep your eyes and ears open for the extraneous hazards that come your way. Step out of the way of fire walls. Run straight out of void zones. Fade when your aggro meter goes off the charts because you crit healed right when whelps spawn. Most importantly, don't lose sight of your healing assignments. I find it extremely easy to avoid the environmental hazards. I also find it easy to heal one player specifically. But doing both can be a challenge to all but the most seasoned of raiders.

Aggravated guildies: I can't stress this enough. Priests, you are going to wipe. Sartharion with all drakes active is the hardest encounter in the game for a reason. This should serve as a reality check to you. You might have stomped your way through Naxx and Malygos without too much difficulty. Then you met this big black dragon and all of a sudden the game is back to being too hard. Deal with it. Be patient, be understanding. My guild clocked around 8 hours before we got this oversized turkey down.

For the Discipline Priest

There are a few tips I can offer. I regularly go through this encounter as Discipline. Here's a few things that I do:

  • Place myself in the tank group: This is mostly for Prayer of Healing use. Depending on where I stand and where the other tanks stand, I'm able to hit 2 or 3 of them with Prayer of Healing. This won't be that important when 3.1 goes live due to the fact that Prayer of Healing can target other players outside of your party.
  • Glyphed Prayer of Healing: I run the Flash Heal, Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Healing Glyphs. I find the HoT effect from Prayer of Healing helps if you're diligent about using the spell.
  • Assigned to the main tank: We usually bring around seven healers to this encounter and I'll put myself on the main tank. Discipline Priests really shine when they need to worry about only one player.

If you have the Grace talent, then chances are you're going to keep the buff up on your main tank no matter what anyway.

Pain Suppression is the key here.

Your clutch moment is when Vesperon lands. In most cases, Shadron will still be active. He should have around 40% health or less remaining. The combination of Shadron and Vesperon being alive that Sartharion's flame breath will one shot your tank unless you work together and time your cooldowns in such a way to help your main tank live.

We used a Feral Druid tank who busted out the Feral Instincts and Barkskin combo in order to survive one of the breaths.

We didn't use a Death Knight tank yet until we felt that his tanking gear was ready. Having a Death Knight tank on Sarth has the benefit of both Anti-Magic Zone and Anti-Magic Shell. That's two tank saving cooldowns compared to a Druid's one.

You have to set up a cycle in such a fashion that there is a defensive cooldown ready to protect your main tank from Sarth's fully powered up Sarth breath. Here's a list of abilities that will do the trick among healers:

Let your tank get the first breath (and second breaths) if possible. This is the time to be vocal. Your tank and healers should give a count of the current breath that they just prevented. Try to have a set order.

Here's an example of the back and forth communication that I have going on:

*Sarth breathes*

Tank: "That's one!"

*13 seconds passes, Sarth breathes again*

Tank: "Two!"

*11 seconds later, Sarth breathes again*

Disc Priest: "I got three!"

*10 seconds, Sarth breathes again*

Holy Paladin: "That's four!"

That time span between Vesperon going active and when Shadron dies is the make or break phase of this fight. As the Discipline Priest, you should be able to hold down the fort with relative ease.

For the Holy Priest

For the few times I went Holy on this fight, I found that I was better suited to healing the raid members or one of the drake tanks. Drake tanks have to be kept up. Once they've finished tanking and the drake dies, I switched and started going full time on the raid.

Some quick tips.

  • Position: I would often jump between the middle of the island and the west part of the island to dodge firewalls. As a contrast with Discipline, I dodged by going between the middle area and toward the east (to maintain range on the main tank).
  • Don't jump out of void zones: I don't want to get too much into details. But the game code translates your position as going from X to Y. That is, if you jump from X to Y, you're still going to be at X until you land on Y. You're better off strafing or running straight out of the void zone. This helps explain some of the early deaths I've had. I knew I was clear of the voids, but I'd still die because the void zone effect went off while I was in the air. The game code still interpreted my position as still being inside the void zone.

Again, the clutch moment is between Vesperon going live and Shadron dying. The issue here I found as a Holy Priest is that I had to make sure I get in range of the main tank. I was fourth on the tank saving cooldown list. Using the previous example above in regards to communication, once I heard the tank say "Two", I'd start hustling over and make sure that I could the tank from where I was.

On a side note, Twilight Torment is literally going to kill your raid. Every healer is going to have to work their butt off to try to keep the raid afloat during this crucial time. Keep cycling the Circle of Healing and the Prayer of Mending as often as they're up. Surge of Light procs are a godsend.

Keep plugging away. Don't be discouraged. It's a hard and tough fight.


Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! And don't forget to check out our other Leveling Guides as well as our Wrath Guides and Galleries!

Filed under: Priest, Tips, Tricks, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

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