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Totem Talk: Enhancement shaman vs. Alysrazor


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

When I was a youngling, my family didn't have a lot of money. As a result, we didn't have a lot of discretionary income for video games. When my neighbors were getting Nintendo 64, I was getting Sega Genesis. Getting Pokémon the first Christmas it was out was a really big deal.

As a result, my first exposure to Star Fox 64 came nearly two years after the game was released. Star Fox 64 had everything 12-year-old-me could have wished for in a video game: anthropomorphized animals with annoying voices, epic space battles, and barrel rolls. I was in heaven. I slept over my friend Francis' house every Friday night for three months just to play Star Fox. (I'd always skip the water zone, though. That place makes heroic Ragnaros look simple.)

When Blizzard released Patch 4.2 and Alysrazor came out, I was faced with a fight uniquely suited to my skillset. Half of the fight, I'm an enhancement shaman: half of the fight, I'm flying through the air dodging incendiary clouds and collecting gold rings like a boss. Unfortunately, the half of the fight that doesn't involve pretending to make fun of Falco over Ventrilo is the part that enhancement excels on.


Phase 1: Boring ground stuff

The ground phase of Alysrazor is exceptionally boring but one enhancement is super-good at. There are two main bad guys you need to be aware of in this phase: Blazing Talon Initiates and Voracious Hatchlings. Voracious Hatchlings have no actual mechanics you need to concern yourself with. They need to be DPSed down in between your dealings with Blazing Talon Initiates.

Blazing Talon Initiates are your real concern during this phase. They cast two abilities. First is Brushfire, which leaves a small patch of fire on the ground for you to avoid. This spell can't be interrupted, and wasting Wind Shears trying to is a quick way to wipe your raid. The other spell they cast is Fieroblast. This spell does intense single-target damage, and every cast of it increases the damage and casting speed of subsequent spells by 10%. You want to interrupt every single Fieroblast. As we've seen from tier 11 content, interrupting spellcasts is something we've very good at.

That's effectively phase 1 as enhancement. You dodge small worms that spew fire in a cone in front of them, you dodge the other fire that the initiates leave on the ground, and you do it all while DPSing/interrupting adds."Dodge bad and interrupt" is unfortunately not a new concept.

Also Phase 1: Not-boring air stuff

If you manage to be one of the lucky few members of your raid assigned to fly into the air, you need to pick up three molted feathers and blast off and play Maverick to Alysrazor's Jester (except Tom Cruise wasn't shooting to kill). Alysrazor will be leisurely circling through the air, leaving Blazing Power circles and Incendiary Clouds. Your job is to chase Alysrazor through the air, DPSing her hard while dodging clouds and collecting rings of power.

These Blazing Power rings are vital to your life, because if you go 20 seconds without grabbing one, your Wings of Flame buff will fall off and you will plummet to your death. They're also important because each stack of Blazing Power increases your haste by 8%, stacking up to 25 times. If you're fly like a G6 and you manage to stack Blazing Power 25 times, you'll get buffed with Alysra's Razor, which increases your critical hit chance by 75%. Since the next phase of Alysrazor is a burn phase, these buffs will make your numbers super-pretty.

Of course, since we're enhancement shaman, things can never be easy. Because of the speed with which Alysrazor circles the arena, Searing Totem is outranged constantly. With Searing Totem being outranged, Searing Flames isn't applied, and Lava Lash goes from hitting like a truck to hitting like a speeding car. Still good, but not great. On top of that, haste and crit aren't good stats for us, and classes like mages, rogues, elemental shaman, both specs of DPS druids, death knights, warlocks, warriors, shadow priests, non-beast mastery hunters, and probably retribution paladins all see more of a benefit from the buff than we do.

Fortunately, scaling with haste/crit means very little if people can't fly well, so there's always a chance you'll be sent up.

Phase 1.5: Tornadoes of death

After 3 minutes, Alysrazor will summon a gigantic tornado in the middle of the room called a Fiery Vortex. This Fiery Vortex does 50,000 damage every .5 seconds to anyone who touches it, but it is totally stationary. To deal with this, don't touch it.

After a few seconds, Fiery Tornadoes will be released out into Alysrazor's room. These tornadoes deal 40,000 damage every second you're in contact with them and last for 15-20 seconds. Do the Helen Hunt and dodge tornadoes like your life depends on it, while keeping a lookout for more Blazing Power rings spawning on the ground. If you were in the air phase before tornadoes, this will keep your buffs running. If you were on the ground, every little bit helps.

Phase 2: Burnout

After the tornado phase, Alysrazor will burn out. She'll lose all her feathers and luster and fall in the middle of the room. This phase is a burn DPS phase, and as a result, you should have any trinkets/potions/Bloodlusts saved for this part. If you managed to keep your buffs up from the air phase, flaunt your e-peen and do numbers you'd normally never see.

Once Alysrazor hits 50 Molten Power, she'll ignite and start doing some major raid damage. You'll still be DPSing your heart out at this point, but pay attention to your own hit points. Drop Stoneclaw Totem on cooldown and use Shamanistic Rage as you're nearing the end of the phase, so as to mitigate her large burst of damage once she hits 100 Molten Power. Once she hits 100 Molten Power and is re-energized, the fight starts over at phase 1. Rinse and repeat twice more, and hopefully Moltenfeather Leggings will be yours.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on rep gear, heroic gear, and raiding gear, plus tips on maximizing your utility skills and tactics for raiding Blackwing Descent.

Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

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