We'll get into healing tips for Feng momentarily but I wanted to examine the state of raiding healers.
It's been a couple of weeks since Mogu'shan Vaults opened up for raids. We've got another week and a few days to go before Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Springs open. A quick cursory glance at the preferred healers show that monks are the class to be right now. They appear to be dominating at the 25 level while in normal 10s, we're seeing additional representation from shaman and paladins. Priests have received some minor hotfixes. Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending was buffed by an additional 25% not too long ago.
5.1 is introducing another set of changes to priests:
- Chakra: Serenity now increases single target healing by 25% (was 15%).
- Chakra: Sanctuary now increases area healing by 25% (was 15%).
Feng the Accursed
You'll come across Feng shortly after you take down the Stone Guard. On normal mode, Feng has three phases with different abilities. The Spirit Bolts he casts will continue to occur throughout the raid no matter what phase he is in. The amount of healing you and your team have to do hinges upon the skills of your tanks. Can they interrupt the appropriate ability? Can they drop Nullification Barrier in the right area for the raid?
Phase 1 - Spirit of the Fist
Stack up behind the boss on this phase. Shortly after you pull, Feng will run to a certain area in the chamber which is a fine tanking spot. The raid should be stacked up clearly right behind him. Your healers should be dropping their healing circles to maximize everyone's health. If done correctly, Lightning Fists should be sent in the direction of the tank (and away from everyone else). Shroud of Reversal is used to intercept Lightning Fists allowing one of the tanks to stun Feng when he attempts to cast Epicenter. You can only catch every other Epicenter this way.
Use Nullification Barrier for the other set of Epicenters. Keep in mind that the duration of the Barrier is shorter than Epicenter. There's going to be some slight overlap. Advise your tanks to let one tick of Epicenter go off before activating the Barrier. Your raid might experience one or two more ticks of it at the end of it.
In the event your tank misses gaining the interrupt buff and the barrier is on cooldown, immediately instruct everyone to run as far away as they can or else Epicenter will completely destroy the raid really fast.
Phase 2 - Spirit of the Spear
Feng's second phase is (literally) a burn phase as you want to get out of this phase as quick as possible. Wildfire Sparks will be applied randomly to your players and they'll need to run out or else they'll light the area around them on fire when the debuff falls off. Designate a safe point for Wildfire'd players to run to. As a priest, I opted to use Angelic Feather and dropped it between the raid group and the stack point to help affected players run out that much faster. Body and Soul is another option, but I've had cases where the same player was affected three straight times.
Eventually, Feng will Draw Flame causing his melee swings to hit the whole raid. Start stacking and timing your raid cooldowns to get through it. There's other options other than healers. Your shaman might have access to Healing Tide totem. Your warriors have Rallying Cry. Don't use them all at once. Layer those cooldowns as you go and stretch it out. You might even end up with a surplus for the next phase. Take stock of the options and tools that your raid has to carry your group into the final phase. We used Heroism during this stage to accelerate out of this phase and into the next one.
Phase 3 - Spirit of the Staff
Stay loosely close to each other. Feng should be tanked in the middle. Your raid should be relatively spread out within the golden circle above. The further out any player goes, the more damage they take hence the need to stay somewhat close due to Arcane Velocity. Not to mention, anyone hit with Arcane Resonance should have players around them moving away while they slowly back out. If every player is close together and one of them takes an Arcane Resonance, it's lethal and (almost) irrecoverable. Any additional raid cooldowns remaining should be used for the final phase. The dangerous part is when players are stacked up to mitigate Arcane Velocity but don't bail out of the middle early enough and risk killing everyone else. Try leaving around 2 - 3 seconds before Arcane Velocity finishes channeling. You should be able to afford a tick or two as you leave.
Again, much of this encounter rest on the tanks being able to properly using their newly gained interrupt and shield spells to mitigate those abilities. If they even let a few go off unchecked, it's going to put a large dent in the overall healing mana pool. If you're still having difficulties, I'd suggest taking your raid into the raid finder and practicing some of the more troubling mechanics with your guild until they become used to the abilities.
Hood of Cursed Dreams - Leather helmet
Chain of Shadow - Mail belt
Fan of Fiery Winds - Off hand
Legplates of Sagacious Shadows - Plate legs
Next week, we'll tackle both Gara'jal and the Spirit Kings (two challenging, but fun encounters)!
Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to firstname.lastname@example.org. For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.