I’ve spent more time this raid tier testing out fights in different talent combinations than I think I ever have in the seven years I’ve been raiding World of Warcraft as a Restoration Druid. Mythic Tectus and Mythic Butcher in particular have required me to choose talents from the level 90 tier that I have basically ignored and have made me re-think the value of Tree of Life.
For reference, this is my typical spec: Displacer Beast, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon, Soul of the Forest, Mighty Bash or Ursol’s Vortex, Nature’s Vigil, and Germination.
The first problem I had with this fight was the Earthen Pillars. The spike out of the ground shortly after the tan swirl appears, so you have to move fast…very fast…to avoid being hit. I probably could have done well enough without it, but I decided to spec into Feline Swiftness, giving me an extra 15% boost to my movement speed. I still had to react quickly, but I felt as though I had much fewer close calls. Additionally, our Mages and Moonkin discovered that using Blink/Displacer Beast to kite the Crystalline Barrage away also caused it to travel over the tanks. They were quickly banned from using it, so I certainly felt no need to keep the talent.
The positioning for our raid team during this encounter felt a bit precarious to me, with the tanks often dancing in and out of healing range, especially during the very beginning when we were standing as far away as possible. I could occasionally reach one of the melee with Wild Growth that would splash onto the out of range players, but it just wasn’t enough. So I decided to try Dream of Cenarius, a talent which I have ignored since it was introduced. Surprisingly, I found it to be very effective! When the ranged group moved backwards, and I could no longer reach the tanks, I swapped my target to Tectus and started spamming Wrath. I could see DoC healing the melee and, more importantly, the tanks, even though they were out of range of my normal healing spells. There wasn’t much opportunity for me to use DoC during the rest of the encounter, but just being able to contribute to tank and melee healing when they were out of range was very helpful for my peace of mind.
I also swapped back and forth between Tree of Life and Soul of the Forest a few times. At first, it seemed like Tree of Life was useful during the first Upheaval. However, as our raid learned the encounter, the DPS during the first phase grew stronger and the duration of the first Upheaval became much shorter. So I specced back into my old favorite, Soul of the Forest. As we got better at the early parts of the encounter, we started working on the final phase, when we had eight Motes of Tectus up at once. They would cast Crystalline Barrage all at once, forcing the entire ranged group to run along the wall of mountains to the other side of the room. Healing at this point was definitely stressful for the raid, even with our Hunters chaining Aspect of the Fox. Luckily, Druids excel at healing on the run, especially when using Tree of Life! Once I swapped back into this talent, the damage during the last phase smoothed out as I could now spam Regrowth and keep the raid afloat until the other two healers had a moment to stand still.
Final Talent Choices: Feline Swiftness, Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon (not used during encounter), Tree of Life, Ursol’s Vortex (not used), Dream of Cenarius, and Germination.
With strict DPS timers, it was immediately obvious that I would need to use Heart of the Wild, a talent which (despite having named this blog for) I almost never choose. Heart of the Wild is a really strong DPS talent for Resto Druids, especially for Butcher. The raid and tank damage during the first part of the encounter is relatively light, so the other three healers on my team were able to handle it without issue. I just dropped Wild Mushroom on the ground, and spammed Wrath for the first 45 seconds. With Heroism, I was typically able to burst around 26-28k DPS for the first 45 seconds of the encounter, doing over 1.5% of the total damage dealt to Butcher. This may not seem like a lot, but when you finish an encounter seconds after the enrage timer, any scrap of damage can make or break your raid’s success.
After a few attempts, the healer team could clearly see that we needed some sort of additional healer cooldowns around the 4th Bounding Cleave, so I swapped out Soul of the Forest and picked up Tree of Life. This time, it was the cheaper Rejuvenations that were most valuable, since mana was tight for all four of the healers and damage continued to be spread through the two groups in melee as Butcher cleaved.
Final Talent Choices: Displacer Beast (not used), Ysera’s Gift, Typhoon (not used), Tree of Life, Ursol’s Vortex (not used), Heart of the Wild, and Germination.