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Spiritual Guidance: Raiding Blackwing Descent as a shadow priest, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Fighting evil (and riding Sandbox Tigers) by moonlight, winning love by daylight ... Your shadow-specced host for the Wednesday edition of Spiritual Guidance never runs from a real fight -- for, you see, he is the one named Fox Van Allen.

Ladies and gentlemen, do not be distracted by the ridiculously adorable Sandbox Tiger -- we've got serious business ahead of us. You see, the evil Queen Beryl dragon Nefarian (sorry, I get them mixed up all the time) has filled Blackwing Descent will all sorts of treasure-filled minions. And you, as duly deputized Van Allen Scouts, are tasked with taking them all down.

Last week, I charged you with defeating the relatively easy Magmaw and Omnotron Defense System. I gave you some basic strategies, and you dispatched them with haste. This week, though, our marks are more difficult: Chimaeron and Maloriak. With great risk comes great reward, however ...

Chimaeron: Battling the two-headed monster

In another time or place, Chimaeron and I could be best friends. So far as giganto-monstrosities go, he's pretty adorable. Tiny, stubby little hands? Check. Loves to curl up and nap? Check. Hates gnomes? Check. Sadly, though, Chimaeron has precious treasures that he's willing to give up only through death, and because of this, he must be destroyed.

Most major fights in World of Warcraft have a gimmick. Chimaeron's gimmick is the Bile-O-Tron 800 bot. While the Bile-O-Tron is active, you'll gain a powerful buff that makes you impervious to death any time your health is above 10,000 -- any attack that would otherwise kill you only reduces you to 1 health. The Bile-O-Tron bot won't be online for the entire fight, and that adds a level of complexity (more on that later). Overall, though, this is a pretty easy fight for shadow priests to execute. That said, there are three separate "phases" to be aware of during the normal Chimaeron fight:
  • When the Bile-O-Tron bot is online (this is the case for most of the fight), the name of the game is to stay spread out. Chimaeron will routinely target players with Caustic Slime, an ability that causes a massive amount of damage to be split between all players within a 6-yard radius of the target. With the Bile-O-Tron buff, there's no need to split the damage. So long as you're above 10,000 health before Caustic Slime lands, you'll live through it.
  • Chimaeron has another ability called Massacre that reduces everyone in the raid's health to 1. Occasionally, the Massacre attack will give the Bile-O-Tron a Systems Failure and knock it offline. With everyone now vulnerable to death, the raid will stack in a central location to split the damage from Caustic Slime and allow for AoE healing.
  • When Chimaeron drops down to 20% health, the final phase of the fight will begin. Chimaeron stops using all his special abilities, but the raid gets a debuff applied that reduces all healing by 99%. At that point, it's a heart-stopping race to the finish line -- Chimaeron starts running down the threat list, killing raid members one by one.
Again, for this fight, the shadow priest strategy is pretty simple:
  • Trust your healers. Between raid heals and your own self-healing via Vampiric Embrace, we shadow priests are pretty hard to kill during phase 1.
  • Because you'll be at or near 1 hit point for a good part of the fight, you're going to want to avoid using Shadow Word: Death. Don't play Russian roulette. Take the ability off your cast bar -- it's not worth the risk.
  • When the Bile-O-Tron goes offline, survivability is job one. If raid healers are struggling to keep everyone alive, remember that you have options: You can use your Divine Hymn cooldown to help out. Otherwise, it's smart to save your Dispersion cooldowns for when Bile-O-Tron is offline -- it's great having the extra protection.
  • If you can help it, save cooldowns for the final phase -- Chimaeron takes more damage during it. Try to save your final Shadowfiend for the moment he hits 20% health. You should also use a Volcanic Potion when the final phase begins, if you can. Archangel is great here, too, as are all your on-use trinkets. With your raid leader likely calling for Heroism/Bloodlust at the start of phase 3, you'll enjoy tremendous buff synergy and have sky-high DPS when it matters the most.
  • During the final phase, you're going to want to do everything you can to buy the raid more time. Keep a good amount of distance between you and Chimaeron if you can help it, and when you (inevitably?) gain aggro, try to wait until the last moment to pop Dispersion. The 90% damage reduction buys the raid 6 death-free seconds of DPS. Move as far away from the rest of the raid as you can, and when Dispersion ends, use Fade. Again, the goal here is to buy the raid a few extra seconds.
  • When you gain aggro a second time, it's lights out. Try to refresh Devouring Plague or Shadow Word: Pain before you die -- your DoTs continue to tick even after your death. Don't release, and don't give up hope!
Hold out for the wand

Chimaeron drops Einhorn's Galoshes, a nice haste/mastery pair of boots with a red gem slot, and the Brackish Gloves, which offer haste/spirit and a red gem slot. These are nice, of course, but the real treasure to look for is Finkle's Mixer Upper, a wand with mastery and spirit. Epic wands are hard to come by after all, so save your positive RNG mojo for the roll!

The vile, vial Maloriak

I speak from experience: Writing can be hard, especially writing for entertainment purposes. Thankfully, the lazy writer has a resource: TV Tropes. You can, you see, create an entire encounter around it. Let's take a shot, shall we? We'll start with the basic World of Warcraft premise that Science is Bad -- gnome technology "fails deadly," goblin-engineered devices are Made of Explodium, and all other scientists just plain work for the bad guys. Of course, if he's working for the bad guys, he's gotta be a Mad Scientist, and we all know that every mad scientist is going to go around Creating Life. And you gotta go take him out, cause They Would Cut You Up.

We have to make him different from Professor Putricide, so we'll make sure Maloriak isn't a Professor Guinea Pig. Still, we'll be lazy enough to make sure he partakes in the same kind of Technicolor Science. What is in all those vials he keeps throwing, and how can we use them for good? Sorry -- No Plans No Prototype No Backup. And, as for motive ... well, let's just say he does it For Science! Literally. We'll make him say that. Yup.

Fortunately for your raid, Maloriak is a Bungling Inventor.

So, like I said, Maloriak partakes in Technicolor Science -- there's a red vial phase, a blue vial phase, and a green vial phase. And all the while, he's casting Release Aberrations, an ability that releases a number of highly fortified adds into the fight. When Maloriak's health drops below 25 percent, he enters a final phase when he stops using vials and immediately unleashes any minions he's still got on hand.

Most raids will assign an interrupt rotation for handling casts of Release Abberations. Success is partially determined on how many adds get released when, so don't mess up the planning by trying to help with a few unplanned Silence casts. Maloriak also has a healing buff called Remedy -- leave that for mages to Spellsteal, though note that you can Dispel it in an emergency.

The vial phase

The vial phase is actually a steady rotation of three color-coordinated mini-phases. The rotation continues until Maloriak hits 25% health.
  • Red vial In this case, red means fire -- the red vial gives Maloriak fire-based abilities. Strategy here usually calls for raids to stack in front of the boss to split the damage from his Scorching Blast ability. Occasionally, you'll be targeted with the Consuming Flames debuff that causes you to take more magic damage. If this happens, you need to move off to the side, because that fire attack will get very very deadly.
  • Blue vial If red is hot, blue must mean cold! Staying spread out during blue vial phases is a must, lest players damage each other via Biting Chill. Some players will also be singled out and trapped in ice -- most raids assign people to break them out. If that's not your job, leave the ice alone -- players need to be topped off by healers first, because the breaking ice causes a lot of damage.
  • Green vial Every third phase will always be a green vial phase. Green is usually good, and in this case (at least for us DPS), it's very good. Throughout the 15-second phase, everything in the room will get the Debilitating Slime debuff. That debuff is the only thing that makes the adds vulnerable, so the green phase is an add-killing phase. You should set up a macro to /target the tank assigned to the adds and /cast Mind Sear. Save your Shadowfiend and any on-use trinkets for the green phase, if you can.
The final phase

Once Maloriak hits 25% health, he gains a few new abilities. He'll hit the whole raid with the Acid Nova, which is unavoidable (though mitigatable via Power Word: Shield). He's also spawn Magma Jets immediately in his path, so don't stand immediately in his path. Much more important to keep an eye out for is Absolute Zero. It's an exploding ball of ice.

In my experience, the Maloriak fight is all about having enough AoE for the adds. It was a brutal fight for shadow priests prior to the Mind Sear buffs in 4.0.6. Thankfully, it's been smooth sailing for us since then, and it'll get even more shadow priest-friendly once Mind Sear is buffed again in 4.1.

Maloriak's loot

And Your Reward Is Clothes. If you need an epic belt, Maloriak drops the crit/haste Belt of Arcane Storm; if pants are more your style, check out his Legwraps of the Greatest Son, which boast spirit and crit. Sadly, that's about it, unless you have interest in a trinket for your healing off-spec. Ah well, you didn't do it for the loot, right? You did it ... for science.
Are you more interested in watching health bars go down than watching them bounce back up? We've got more for shadow priests, from Shadow Priest 101 to a list of every monster worth mind controlling and strategies for raiding Blackwing Descent.

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

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