Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.
Well, class, I'm back. Mr. Matticus said you all were very well-behaved in my absence, and from what I understand, you got through all the work I left with him. Unfortunately, we've still strayed away from the curriculum, and there's quite a lot of catching up to do if you're to do well on your heroic assessment tests.
Now, I've put together this study guide for healing through the first four encounters in the Firelands. Does anyone know what those are? That's right: Shannox, Lord Rhyolith, Alysrazor, and Beth'tilac. We'll be having a practice test at the end of the week so I can see what sections we need to work on.
As with all my previous priest healing guides, I won't spend the majority of this post telling you how each boss encounter works. Between the dungeon journal and all the existing guides out there, there are plenty of sources for learning the basic mechanics of each fight.
Before we start, if you don't know how the fight works, be sure to check out WoW Insider's Guide to Shannox.
Holy vs. discipline Either spec works in this case. Holy can add benefits from using Serendipity, with Prayer of Healing to time up raid healing with the times when Shannox uses Hurl Spear. Holy also has the benefit of granting Body and Soul to life-gripped targets if you use that approach. Both specs are about even on the cooldowns they bring for this particular fight.
When to use your abilities
- Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit Early in the fight, offer up these defensive cooldowns to the off tank who will be dealing with very spiky damage from Riplimb. Late in the fight after Riplimb dies and Jagged Tear starts to pile up on your main tank, you'll need to start rolling cooldowns on him.
- Power Word: Barrier or Holy Word: Sanctuary You'll want to use raid cooldowns and healing toward the end of the fight when Shannox hurls his spear into the ground for big raid damage. You won't need Power Word: Barrier much in the early fight unless you'd like to use it as a miniature tank cooldown.
- Power Infusion If you're healing the off tank, save Power Infusion for yourself and use it whenever you're having trouble keeping up with the damage. If you're healing the main tank, you can give it to a DPSer or whoever you like.
- Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend You'll find opportunities to channel Hymn of Hope once you become accustomed to the times between damage spikes.
- Divine Hymn Use this toward the end of the fight when you don't have a raid cooldown to make it through his spear.
- Leap of Faith If you fancy yourself a particularly skilled priest, you can stand at max range from the off tank and buy extra seconds of time to reset stacks of Jagged Tear by occasionally gripping him further away from Riplimb. Do not do this to the main tank.
WoW Insider also has a guide for Lord Rhyolith, so be sure to go over the fight before you reference these priest-specific tips.
Holy vs. discipline The enrage timer isn't too strenuous, so you can afford extra healers on this fight. Holy or discipline will work, but this is a fun fight for disc priests armed with Atonement. Since the Spark of Rhyolith that your tanks have to pick up have moments when they take increased damage, they're ideal for spamming Smite against; as the damage on the tank and spark increases, so will your healing. The additional DPS you provide will also significantly assist in lowering the amount of time your DPS will have to spend killing the spark when they need to!
When to use your abilities
- Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit Save it for the times when the tank who's picking up the Spark of Rhyolith is taking increased damage.
- Power Word: Barrier or Holy Word: Sanctuary If a Volcano has been active for a while, drop AOE healing and defensive cooldowns on your range cluster before Rhyolith uses Concussive Stomp.
- Power Infusion Use it on yourself to DPS down the Spark of Rhyolith with Smite.
- Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend You won't have many timing issues using these, so use them when you need to.
- Divine Hymn As soon as phase 2 starts, your raid will want to use a lot of cooldowns to survive the stomps. You'll want to volunteer Divine Hymn for sometime during this short phase.
Again, be sure to look over our guide to Alysrazor so you know the mechanics of the fight before we begin.
Holy vs. discipline There just aren't many compelling reasons to be holy on this fight, because most of the damage is tank damage. Considering this and that discipline's toolbox of spells becomes amazingly strong when combined with the buff you get from Molten Feathers, and it just makes sense to go disc.
When to use your abilities
- Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit Save abilities like these for tanks (when their add enrages) or victims of Fiery Tornados. A player who has been caught by one tornado won't necessarily die, but if he gets picked up by a second, he will. Solution: Toss a defensive cooldown on him until he's healed back up so he won't die during this phase.
- Power Word: Barrier or Holy Word: Sanctuary Whenever Alysrazor goes through a Burnout phase, she'll inevitably be reborn in flame and do great damage to the raid. That's the time for AOE healing and cooldowns.
- Power Infusion Use Power Infusion on yourself whenever your tank needs a cooldown, but there aren't any left so you can cast more freely.
- Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend Whenever a tank's add mob dies you can safely channel Hymn of Hope. That said, the mechanics of the fight allow for infinite mana, so you don't need to be precise. You can also use your Shadowfiend early to help with DPS, since mana isn't a huge issue.
- Divine Hymn You can use this for anything. Most of the damage is single-target-oriented, though, so you might be better off healing most of the time.
Again, you should reference WoW Insider's Guide to Beth'tilac so you know how all these abilities I refer to will come up in the fight.
Holy vs. discipline Either spec is fine for normal modes, though holy isn't quite as effective just because Barrier is so strong. But then again, that can be said about most encounters where you can utilize a Power Word: Barrier. /sigh
When to use your abilities
- Pain Suppression or Guardian Spirit You'll want to use a defensive cooldown on your tank either before he heads up to the web or as soon as you get there yourself. It largely depends on how much time elapses that he has to go without a heal from you. If you follow him up shortly after he heads up ,you can wait 'til you're up there and use it just as you arrive to catch up. In phase 2, you can use it any time it seems needed.
- Power Word: Barrier or Holy Word: Sanctuary When you drop below from the web for the first time to avoid Smoldering Devastation, you can use Power Word: Barrier once. Don't use it any later, so you'll have it on the third trip down when Beth'tilac uses Frenzy.
- Power Infusion Use it on yourself when you get onto the web to help yourself catch up on heals that you couldn't cast while you were out of line of sight.
- Hymn of Hope and Shadowfiend When you drop down from the web for the third time, there is a small window of time before Beth'tilac gets to the ground. Squeeze your Hymn of Hope channel in there. You can use Shadowfiend whenever it suits you.
- Divine Hymn Use Divine Hymn for the second Smoldering Devastation that you don't have a Power Word: Barrier for.
Now, does anyone have any questions before we move onto the Baleroc the Gatekeeper? Remember, no question is a bad question.
Spiritual Guidance has the inside line on pre-raid, valor point and raid gear in patch 4.2. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.