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Shifting Perspectives: Feral cat strats for the Firelands, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear , restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

In the last column, we tackled the trash and the first two bosses of the Firelands that most guilds will encounter, Shannox and Beth'tilac. Today, we'll proceed to the next two, challenging Lord Rhyolith and Baleroc.

Let's get your feral on!

Lord Rhyolith

Otherwise known as Dieolith or Whyolith, LR is definitely not a favorite in my guild. Even top guilds are going to wipe on this fight occasionally if the volcano placement sucks. That said, there's not much you can do about that, so let's get to the strategy.

Basic strategy When the fight begins, Lord Rhyolith will begin walking in a straight line, ignoring threat, aggro, and the little fleshy beings scattered about the area. He has only one method of control: DPS on his feet. (There are three independent targets -- Lord Rhyolith, Left Foot, and Right Foot, which all share HP and buffs.) Hitting a foot with enough damage will cause him to turn in that direction. Stop hitting it, and he'll straighten up again.

Now, you want to control his movement for several reasons. First, if he reaches the edge of his area at any point, he will drink from the magma and upchuck it all over the raid. I can't blame him for not being able to keep firewater down (seems to run in the family, apparently), but it'll wipe your raid, so that's bad. Second, he'll periodically spawn volcanoes around his area that do Eruption damage to the raid. The damage is fairly minor, but it comes with a +fire damage taken debuff, which makes it painful in a hurry. Having four to five volcanoes up for any length of time is an excellent way to send your healing team into twisted self-loathing yet again. If this sounds good to you, note that this will also wipe your raid.

Of course, the only way to get rid of those volcanoes is to walk Rhyolith over them. One of your raidmates should be tasked as Rhyolith's driver; his job is to call which leg of Rhyolith to attack to turn him toward volcanoes. As a melee DPSer with excellent speed, you will almost certainly be assigned as an ankle-biter, so your job is pretty simple. Kill your assigned target.

The two things you'll have to be prepared for are Concussive Stomp, which is a periodic AoE knockback, and Magma Flow, which are lines of magma that flow from stepped-on volcanoes. Your boss mod will warn when the flows appear, so dodge as necessary. If you get cut off from Rhyolith, jumping/Feral Charging over the flows works as well. No, you can't jump and dodge the Stomp; this isn't The Stonecore. Finally, there are also some adds running around, but the ranged DPS will take care of those unless you are in a very melee-DPS heavy raid.

Once Rhyolith's HP hits 25%, he'll go into phase 2. This is the trademark burn phase, and it's pretty easy compared to Shannox or Beth'tilac's. Pop all your CDs and kill him before he AOEs down the raid. Note that he starts with an 80% damage reduction buff that gradually drops off as he hits volcanoes, so don't be alarmed if your DPS looks terrible at the end.

Feral tips
  • Your driver will occasionally call for a DPS stop to let Rhyolith go straight for a bit. You don't need to stop; simply switch to DPSing the body proper, and switch back to the correct leg when necessary.
  • Most deaths on this fight come from burst spike damage; a character hovering around 60-70% HP from the Eruption damage eats a Magma Flow + Stomp and dies, for example. Using an instant HT on a close-to-death target (from Predatory Strikes) can save their life on this fight.
  • Keep Barkskin on cooldown to help with the Eruption damage.
  • Feral hybrid isn't really an advantage for this fight. The tank will have adds constantly during phase 1, leaving little opportunity to shift. You can contribute a bit more DPS in pPhase 2, but it's not as important as it is on the fights with more difficult burn phases.
  • If you're having problems getting Rhyolith to change direction, take it easy with the DOTs (especially Rip).

Baleroc

Ah, Baleroc. Otherwise known as Patchwerk 2.0, Easy-Mode Magtheridon, or ******* DPS forgot the order again. This fight is conceptually simple but difficult to execute.

Basic strategy In terms of killing, the strategy is simple, so I'll look at the soaking part. For most of the fight, a crystal (two in 25-man) will be spawned in near the raid. After a short arming period, the crystal will begin to do shadow damage via stacks of Torment to the closest player. This damage has two unique properties: First, it stacks very fast, and second, once it falls off, you receive a debuff callent Tormented that increases your Shadow damage taken for 40 seconds (60 seconds in 25-man). Your raid leader will organize the DPS into a soaking order: most strategies involve pairs of people who each soak ~12 stacks, or thereabouts, as each crystal lasts for about 25 seconds.

So, if it's not your turn to soak, GTFO if a crystal pops near you. Taking just a single tick of Torment will hit for negligible damage but will give you the debuff, which will absolutely wreck you when your turn comes to soak. If it is your turn, hop in, pop Barkskin, and pray for good healing. That said, the +20% healing bonus from NS plus the low CD on Barkskin makes ferals one of the best soaking classes. You'll want to use Survival Instincts on cooldown as well. If your guild recognizes your superiority and adopts a 15-9 strategy or some such, make sure you Barkskin/SI the later ticks, not the earlier ones.

Feral tips
  • Hybrid tanking theoretically works well for this fight if you use the two-tank strategy. The time between Decimation Blade phases is lengthy (90 seconds), allowing you plenty of time to lay out some DPS. That said, unlike conventional tanking, Decimation Blade tanking is very reliant on good avoidance. I'd recommend picking up the Bedrock Talisman, a trinket that is absolutely perfect for this.
  • Some crazy guilds (or ones pushing heroic content, which is similar) may ask you to hold a crystal solo. It's doable, but you'll want to go bear and incorporate glyphed Frenzied Regeneration and probably the Mirror of Broken Images trinket from Tol Barad, plus the CDs mentioned above.
Well, that's it for the first four bosses! Hope you're not tired of fire yet, because the next two feature a fire bird and a fire cat (which, yes, can be you as well). Keep the fire extinguisher handy!

Looking for the latest and greatest in feral cat druid guides? Shifting Perspectives has the answers! Check out our cat 101 for Cataclysm. Also don't miss gearing your cat for Cataclysm raiding, addons for cat druids and raiding strats for feral cats.

Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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