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Spiritual Guidance: Raiding Icecrown Citadel, Part 2

Welcome to Spiritual Guidance with Fox Van Allen. Fox Van Allen is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist. He's going to do a great column on shadow priesting today. And he's gonna help people. Cause he's good enough, smart enough, and doggonit, people like him.

Adjective-neutral news, everyone! A cadre of intrepid shadow priests cleared out the ramparts of Icecrown Citadel last week and are now preparing to strike at the heart of the Lich King's plague operations. This means taking on the fearsome Professor Farnsworth Putricide, but only after defeating his two mentally challenged children who seem to exist solely to fart, make "angry poo poo(s)," and eat up 15 minutes of your raid's time.

At least you get to sift through their remains for new things to wear. Where's that laundromat in Dalaran again?

As promised, follow me after the break for the shadow priest's guide to the Icecrown Plagueworks.FESTERGUT

Your Mission: Stay alive. Inoculate yourself and others against Festergut's raid-wide mega-attack. Pull out all the stops to maximize DPS, cause dude needs to die quick. Marvel at the guest appearance of Koffing above your head.

Festergut, especially in 25-man mode, is a pretty brutal DPS check. This means, of course, that your entire raid could do everything right, and you can still find yourself getting wiped by the enrage timer. To add to the challenge, as a ranged player, you'll find that there's a lot of movement involved and your DPS will lag behind the melee classes. Still, shadow priests bring more to a raid than just DPS, and it's that extra utility that lets us shine here.

Positioning

As a ranged DPS caster, you'll be placed well outside melee range, close to the walls of the room. The raid leader will designate a central location (usually near the doorway) or centrally located player (who won't move) as a collapsing point for a later phase of the fight. You'll be moving back and forth between these two points during the fight. Otherwise, you want to be as close to the collapsing point as you can while maintaining a distance of about 10 yards from other players.

The Basics
  • Shortly after the fight begins, the room fills up with a cloud of Gaseous Blight, an orange gas. Inhaling orange gas is not the healthiest of endeavors -- the raid will suffer constant, low-level shadow damage from it. It's important to cast Prayer of Shadow Protection before the fight begins to limit the impact of the gas-related damage. Combined with Vampiric Embrace, this will take a lot of pressure off the raid healers.
  • Festergut will randomly target ranged members of the raid with Vile Gas, which will cause you to lose control of your character and vomit for about 6 seconds (incapacitating you), deal damage to you, and deal damage to people around you. To limit this damage, cast Power Word: Shield on yourself the moment you're afflicted with Vile Gas (it takes a moment for you to lose control of your character).
  • On a regular basis, Festergut will inhale some of the gas in the room. Whenever he does this, random players in the raid will be afflicted with Gas Spores, which explode after twelve seconds. The basic raid strategy calls for ranged players to collapse in on a single point (as discussed earlier) so that everyone can be hit by the Gas Spore damage. When this happens, you gain a stack of a buff called Inoculated, which reduces the shadow damage you take by 25%. After the spore explodes, return to your original position.
  • Inoculations are important, because after casting Gas Spores three times, Festergut will ready a devastating attack called Pungent Blight. Having three stacks limits the damage you take from Pungent Blight to a manageable 10,000 points, two stacks doubles that damage, but is survivable as a shadowpriest. (In fact, having only two stacks is key to the) Anything less than that will require you to use Disperse to survive. Add ons like Deadly Boss Mods will tell you when Pungent Blight is imminent -- try to limit the damage you take from it by casting Power Word: Shield on yourself if you can. (Side note: There are a number of disc priests out there who don't like it when shadow priests cast PW:S on themselves, since it takes away the disc priest's ability to apply a stronger version to you. If there's a disc priest in your group, be sure to communicate ahead of time whether or not you'll be using it during the fight.)
  • When it comes to actually damaging the boss, this fight is the time to pull out all the stops and make sure DPS is optimized. This means using a Potion of Speed before the fight begins, popping your Shadowfiend about 10 or 15 seconds into the fight when you're most likely to have as many procs active on you as possible, and spamming Devouring Plague anytime you have to move (for the 30% upfront damage hit). If possible, time the release of your second Shadowfiend (the enrage timer allows for two castings max per Festergut encounter so there's no need to rush the second use) for the moment before Bloodlust / Heroism is called. Use another potion immediately after (I prefer using a Potion of Wild Magic with Bloodlust). Keep your DoTs active as much as possible.
The Loot

In 25-man difficulty, keep a keen eye out for the Plague Scientist Boots -- they're your best-in-slot pair of boots. If you need the hit, Plaguebringer's Stained Pants make a good stand-in until you can get your tier pants. Festergut also drops Lingering Illness, a belt that works well for off-spec heals.

There are a also handful of nice pick ups from Festergut in 10-player mode. With spell power, haste, crit, and three gem slots, the Kilt of Untreated Wounds is a terrific item for shadow priests who focus on ten-man content. If you're on the lookout for a weapon loaded with hit, you could find some good use out of the Abracadaver (it also comes with a fun-but-useless "pet" proc). The Bloodstained Surgeon's Shoulderguards aren't best in slot, but they're the best shoulders that you'll see drop in a ten-man raid.


ROTFACE

Your mission: Stay alive. Dodge the occasional slime spray. Kite oozes. Wonder why the design for Rotface is so unoriginally similar to Festergut.

Though the Rotface design is little more than a palette shift of Festergut, the fight mechanics and dynamics are quite different. This fight prioritizes situational awareness over raw DPS -- it requires more movement and coordination. In other words, don't take unnecessary risks in this fight for the sake of higher DPS.

Positioning

Most raid leaders ask the ranged players to group up in melee range immediately behind Rotface. This will require constant adjustment as Rotface randomly turns -- you'll need to keep moving and stay aware of where he's facing.

Basics
  • The outer quadrants of the room will periodically flood with green slime. The slime seriously eats away at your health, of course, so stay away from it. The center never floods, so stay close to Rotface when possible.
  • At regular intervals, Rotface will spew slime, causing moderate damage to everyone immediately in front of him. Again, it is important to reposition yourself in back of Rotface whenever he turns to cast his Slime Spray.
  • The gimmick to this fight is the casting of Mutated Infection. It's a disease debuff. When removed, a small ooze that does AoE damage will spawn. It's important to move away from melee range when you get the debuff so the slime hurts as few people as possible when the disease is cleansed. Though we do have access to Cure Disease, it is best to let the assigned healer deal with this -- keep yourself focused on moving.
  • Throughout the fight, one of the off tanks will be kiting and tanking any spawned oozes on the outer edge of the room. If you get the debuff, head in the tank's direction. When the ooze finally spawns, it's your job to get the ooze that's attacking you close to the ooze that the tank is kiting -- they'll merge into a big ooze and you'll be free to return to the boss. This part of the fight can get messy when there are pools of slime around the room, and slime has a tendency to slow down your movement speed, so don't be afraid to use Dispersion to eliminate these issues and mitigate damage if you need to.
  • When the big ooze that is being kited absorbs five smaller oozes, Rotface kindly emotes that these oozes are actually "angry" bowel movements with a tendency to explode. Shortly after, an Unstable Ooze Explosion occurs, showering ooze down on three random raid members. Since all the raid members should be centrally located, you avoid damage from this event by running toward the outside of the room -- presumably one of the quadrants without deadly slime in it.
  • Aside from the above, standard DPS rules apply. Attack Rotface, never the Oozes. Keep your DoTs up, and if you can, spam Devouring Plague while moving. Running out of mana shouldn't be a huge issue here, especially if you're Dispersing when merging slimes.
The Loot

The gear from twenty-five man Rotface is, simply put, spectacular for shadow priests. The key, drool-worthy shadow priest drop here is the Dislodged Foreign Object, a trinket that gives you a terrific base amount of haste and a proc that caps out at a 1050 spell power (!) bonus. Good trinkets are painfully hard to find, and this is essentially your best-in-slot piece until you tackle heroic modes. Rotface also drops the Corpse-Impaling Spike, which is your best-in-slot wand. And as if two best-in-slot drops weren't enough, he also drops the Death Surgeon's Sleeves, which just happen to be your best-in-slot wrists.

The drops from ten-man Rotface aren't terribly exciting, especially by comparison. The Ether-Soaked Bracers are a decent enough pick up if you want or need the 40 points of hit attached. The Gloves of Broken Fingers have spirit attached, so they won't be ideal for you as a shadow priest, but they make an acceptable stand in until you can buy a better piece of gear with tokens. The Choker of Filthy Diamonds is a mediocre piece of shadow gear, but good if you really want it for your healing off-spec.


PROFESSOR PUTRICIDE

Your Mission: Stay alive. Kill adds as quickly as possible. For god's sake, don't drink anything.

Well, it appears the person responsible for turning the races of Azeroth into undead slaves of the Lich King is a bit of an eccentric. (Pay no mind to the number of times you've already defeated other persons responsible for the plague!) In this highly challenging fight, you'll deal with orange gas, green slime, and a harshly unforgiving soft enrage timer. Because timing of the phase changes is quite important here and based on the percentage of Putricide's health remaining, I suggest setting Putricide's health bar to read in percent, and not raw numbers.

Positioning

There are a number of different placement strategies for this fight, but all involve similar principles. There is a tank of orange gas in the room, and a tank of green slime. As ranged DPS, you're generally going to be clustered at max range from either tank with a multitude of your raid mates.

Phase 1

In the first major phase of the fight, Professor Putricide will have two main ways of distracting you from your job of DPSing him. He'll create puddles of slowly expanding green slime on the floor -- don't stand in these, of course -- and he'll summon two different types of adds: Volatile Oozes and Gas Clouds.
  • The first add Putricide will summon will be the Volatile Ooze, which will spawn under the green tank. Ideally, your tanks will move Putricide away from the tank so everyone is at max range from it when it does. This is important, because shortly after it spawns, it will target a member of the raid, root them with Volatile Ooze Adhesive (which acts as a DoT debuff), and begin charging at them. If you're chosen, you don't have much choice but to stay put and get as many of your DoTs active on the Ooze as quickly as you can -- Mind Flay is ineffective at slowing its charge here. When the Ooze reaches someone, it will explode for massive damage spread evenly among everyone in range of the explosion. Because of this, if someone else is chosen, you (and others!) will need to be on top of them when the Ooze reaches their position. Avoid collapsing too quickly, as too many people in one place will cause Putricide to spawn a puddle of green slime where you're standing, and that's not going to be good for anyone. After the first explosion, the Ooze will continue targeting people with Volatile Ooze Adhesive until you kill it. Always prioritize collapsing on the target to doing damage here, because one bad explosion can cause a raid wipe.
  • The second add Putricide will summon will be a Gas Cloud, generated under the orange tank. Once spawned, it will target someone with Gaseous Bloat, a debuff that greatly increases your size and causes constant damage. If you're targeted, you need to run away, kiting the cloud around the room -- if it reaches you too soon after it spawns, it will kill you. There's not much you can do while running aside from spamming Devouring Plague and making sure Shadow Word: Pain is active. Since you'll be taking constant damage, using Shadow Word: Death here is a no-no. (Power Word: Shield is good here as damage mitigation, too, subject to the usual caveats.)
Putricide will alternate between spawning Oozes and Gases until you get him to 80% health, at which time he will use Tear Gas, which does little but paralyze you for 20 seconds while he runs over to his table to start drinking his mutating potions. You can't attack Putricide at all during this time, but you can use Disperse to regain your mana.

Phase 2

This phase is quite similar to Phase 1 in that Putricide will alternate between generating Volatile Oozes and Gas Clouds. He gains two additional abilities that will cause trouble for you -- Choking Gas Explosion and Malleable Goo.
  • Choking Gas Explosions are primarily a concern for melee attackers, but they can hurt you if you're not careful. Putricide drops gas bombs (flasks?) on the floor at regular intervals, which will eventually explode. Ranged players should not stand near these bombs under any circumstance.
  • Malleable Goo is the main concern for ranged players. Putricide will target one member of your raid with Malleable Goo; when he does, you need to move away from the spot that player was standing immediately. The goo will bounce a few times on the floor before landing, causing splash damage and applying a really nasty 20-second speed debuff when it "explodes." If you get hit, these can easily kill you outright; if you survive, you'll be largely useless for the next 20 seconds. Ideally, you won't get hit, but if you do, do not refresh your DoTs during those 20 seconds, since the debuff will dramatically increase their period and decrease their frequency. Prioritize using Mind Blast and Mind Flay, and reapply your DoTs to Putricide or the adds immediately after the debuff expires. Disperse works well to fill that "useless" time, too.
When you get Putricide down to 35%, he will again cast Tear Gas and move into the final phase. It is absolutely critical that, for this particular phase change, no adds be up. The reason for this is simple -- during the first two phases, one of your off tanks will be mutated into an abomination capable of slowing these adds. In the third phase, this slowing effect is unavailable, and a fast moving Ooze/Gas can quickly wipe your raid -- or at least kill enough members to guarantee bumping up against the soft enrage timer. Limit the use of DoTs on Putricide when he gets to 37% to avoid "accidentally" pushing him into Phase 3. If you have the ability to Disperse during the Tear Gas event, do so -- you'll need the extra mana.

Phase 3
Good news, everyone: In Phase 3, Putricide stops spawning those damnable Volatile Oozes and Gas Clouds. He'll still use Choking Gas Explosion and Malleable Goo, so remain vigilant for those. But, uh... bad news, everyone: there are two new deadly aspects to the Phase 3 part of the fight.
  • Putricide will apply a stack of Mutated Plague to your tanks. Though it's a debuff to them, it will actually damage the raid, causing more and more damage to all players as more stacks are applied. It's pretty light damage at first, but at some point, even a shadow priest with sick DPS won't be able to survive its wrath.
  • In previous phases, you had an abomination up and about, eating the spawning puddles of green slime. In Phase 3, you lose your abomination, so these puddles will continuously spawn and grow until they cover the entire floor. Be aware of where the slime is at all times, and make sure you don't get trapped. If you do somehow get trapped, you may need to use Disperse to save yourself as you head to dry ground.
In short, you're in a major DPS race here. It's time to bring out the big guns. On the start of Phase 3, Bloodlust / Heroism should get called, so drop your Shadowfiend immediately to allow it to benefit from the speed boost too. Use your Potion of Wild Magic during, and spam Devouring Plague whenever you're forced to move. Try to avoid tunnel vision, though -- it's more important than ever to dodge each Malleable Goo.

The Loot

As the final boss of the Plagueworks, Professor Putricide drops those mouth-wateringly good Conqueror's Marks of Sanctification in 25-man mode, which upgrade your existing tier pieces. Unfortunately, they're the only item of value Putricide drops for shadow priests.
In ten-man mode, Putricide drops the Pendant of Split Veins, a neck piece with spellpower, crit, and hit; the Shoulders of Ruinous Senility, which have spell power, haste, and hit; and the Cauterized Cord, the best waist piece you'll see drop for shadow priests in ten-man raids.

If you made it through to beat Putricide, congratulations -- it's a feat that most players have yet to experience. With him dead and another achievement under our belts, we'll soon be setting our sights on The Crimson Hall to kill those those little emo vampire boys that... hold on, wait, didn't we kill these guys already? (I suppose no one ever stays dead for very long in Azeroth, do they?)

Anyway, until next time, don't do anything I wouldn't do.



Hunger for more information about bending the light to your advantage? More interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? Think it's neat to dissolve into a ball of pure shadow every few minutes? The darker, shadowy side of Spiritual Guidance has you covered.

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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