[WoD] Talent Choices for Mythic Tectus and Mythic Butcher

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.

Mythic Tectus

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.

Mythic Butcher

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.

[WoD] Battle Rezzes and You: What Every Druid, Warlock, Death Knight, Hunter, and RAIDER Should Know — Part 2

Battle rez spells have been highly normalized in Warlords of Draenor, though there are still some slight difference between all four options which every raider should be aware of.  Please read my first post on this topic for an overview of how battle resurrections work in a raid environment.

Death Knight Raise Ally

The Death Knight battle resurrection is an instant cast spell. The downside to Raise Ally is that it costs 30 Runic Power, which often requires a few  seconds of power ramp up time where the Death Knight must be very careful about avoiding abilities that require Runic Power. Using Raise Ally triggers a 10 minute cooldown on the ability when not in a raid encounter.

Death Knights are the only tank class that can cast a battle rez spell without needing to wait for taunt; using Raise Ally will not expose a Death Knight to higher incoming damage like Rebirth would for a Guardian Druid. Raise Ally brings players back to life with 60% health, 20% mana, and a cosmetic 10 minute debuff called Void-Touched which gives the player a ghostly appearance. The Major Glyph of Raise Ally will remove the Runic Power cost, making this free for the Death Knight to cast.

Druid Rebirth

The original battle resurrection spell. Feral and Guardian Druids have a 2 second cast time for Rebirth, while level 100 Restoration and Balance Druids have a Enhanced Rebirth, which makes Rebirth an instant cast spell. When not in a raid encounter, using Rebirth triggers a 10 minute cooldown on the ability. Rebirth will bring a player back to life with 60% health and 20% mana, but this can be modified by the Major Glyph of Rebirth which will cause players to be returned to life with 100% health and 20% mana.

Guardian Druids must be particularly careful about when they use their spell as it will force them out of Bear Form. In most circumstances, Bears should be the last ones called upon to use their battle resurrection. However, with common sense and consideration of encounter mechanics, a Bear can pull this off –just don’t expect an immediate battle rez.

Hunter (Beast Mastery Spec w/ Quillen Pet) Eternal Guardian

This is a very rare battle resurrection spell as Hunters do not always favor the Beast Mastery spec, and when they do, they don’t usually prefer to run with a quillen pet.  Eternal Guardian is an instant cast spell that, when not in a raid encounter, will trigger a 10 minute cooldown on the ability.  This will bring a player back with 60% health and 20% mana.  There are no glyphs that modify Eternal Guardian.

Outside of raid encounters, Eternal Guardian has a unique, and very gimmicky feature: the cooldown is tied to the individual pet.  A Hunter with multiple quillen pets could use Eternal Guardian, then switch to the second quillen and use it again; the first quillen is on a 10 minute cooldown, while the second was not.  A Hunter could even do this while in combat (in a dungeon or world boss or group quest). Note, this will only work in non-raid situations.  During a raid a pet switch would not be necessary as all of the quillens’ Eternal Guardian cooldowns would be the same time as the duration left on the charge timer (see my first post on WoD battle rezzes for more details on battle rez cooldowns during a raid encounter).

Warlock Soulstone

Warlocks have the unique ability to choose someone ahead of time for their Soulstone spell. Before an encounter begins, they can create a Soulstone and place it on another player. That player will receive the Soulstone buff for 15 minutes, during which, if they die, they’ll have the option to use the Soulstone and be resurrected.  The main benefit of using a Soulstone before the encounter begins is that the Warlock does not still have to be alive to have a potentially useful battle rez.  However it can be very difficult to predict ahead of time who might die during any given attempt.

Alternatively, the Warlock can use their Soulstone similarly to a battle rez, waiting until a character has died before using their Soulstone on them. The Warlock should ensure they have a Soulstone ready to go in their bags at the start of an encounter to eliminate cast times.

The spell Create Soulstone takes 3 seconds to cast with a 10 minute cooldown (when not in a raid encounter), and creates a conjured Soulstone. Soulstones are “unique,” meaning a Warlock can only carry one at a time. Using the conjured item is an instant action, and will give the target player a 15 minute buff.  If the Warlock creates another Soulstone after their 10 minutes cooldown has expired, but before the first 15 minute buff expires on the first target player, and casts it on a new player, the old Soulstone buff will be removed on the first target player, superseded by the new cast on the new player.  A Soulstone will resurrect a player with 60% health and 20% mana. This can be modified with the Major Glyph of Soulstone, which increases the amount health restored to 100%.

When using battle resurrection abilities, communication is key. The caster should announce when they are using their battle rez spell, who they are casting it on, and if it has suddenly become unsafe to accept the resurrection. If you are the usual battle rezzer for your raid and you have died, make sure you communicate this to your group so that alternatives can be quickly put into action.

[WoD] Battle Rezzes and You: What Every Druid, Warlock, Death Knight, Hunter, and RAIDER Should Know — Part 1

Battle resurrections went through another big change at the start of Warlords of Draenor.  Instead of being limited to 1 battle rez for a 10 person raid and 3 for a 25 person raid, battle resurrections are now available on a charged based system.  Your raid starts with one available battle rez and then after a few minutes an additional resurrection can be come available.

Battle Rez Charges

For each raid encounter, your team will always start with 1 battle rez, and will gain 1 additional battle rez charge every 90/x minutes, where x is the number of people participating in the encounter.

For example, a 10 person raid will earn a charge every 9 minutes (90/10 = 9).  Since most encounters are less than 10 minutes in duration in LFR, Normal, or Heroic raid, you will probably have only the starting battle rez available to your team.

During a flex encounter with more raiders, such as 15 people, the raid will earn a charge every 6 minutes (90/15 = 6).  It’s feasible that a raid encounter on LFR, Normal, or Heroic mode could last 6 minutes, in which case you would start with a single battle rez, and then after 6 minutes of fighting the raid boss, a second charge will be earned by your team.

During an encounter with 20 raiders, the raid will earn a charge every 4.5 minutes (90/20 = 4.5).  During a 10 minute encounter (something typically seen in high difficulty Mythic raids), the team will earn a total of three battle resurrections through out the duration.

You do not need to use a charge in order to get a second charge.  The timer starts ticking the second an encounter is pulled.  In a 20 person raid, the second battle rez is earned 4.5 minutes into the encounter, the third 9 minutes into the encounter, etc.

A battle rez only counts against the raid’s charges when it has been accepted by the target player.  If the target player declines the battle rez, the raid will NOT lose the charge and the caster’s battle rez will NOT go on cooldown.  If a battle rez is pending on a player (meaning they have neither accepted or declined) the caster’s battle rez will be unavailable until the target accepts, or it will be refunded if the target declines.  This last bit may not seem important, but if you having a pending resurrection and someone potentially more valuable to your raid (i.e. a tank) dies, you have the option to decline the battle rez so that someone else may use it.

The Battle Resurrection Cooldown

The tooltip of a typical battle rez says the spell has a 10 minute cooldown.  This is not the whole picture.  If you are in a dungeon, participating in a group quest, or you are just casting the battle rez on someone while soloing out in the world, your spell will indeed have a 10 minute cooldown.  However…

Raid encounters change everything. For simplicity, I’m going to use a 20 person raid team in these example (meaning the raid will earn a battle rez charge every 4.5 minutes).

All battle rez casters will have their battle rez go on and off cooldown at the same time.  If a Druid casts Rebirth 2 minutes into the fight, the raid will then have 0 battle rez charges remaining and all Warlocks, Druids, Death Knights, and Hunters in the raid will have their battle rez spell go on cooldown.  All caster’s battle rezzes will go on cooldown if another member of the raid team accepts a battle rez and the raid has no additional charges.

If a caster’s battle rez has gone on cooldown, the length of this cooldown is the same as the time remaining until the next charge. In a 20 person raid, the caster’s battle rez cooldown has a maximum of 4.5 minutes.  If a caster rezzes someone 3 minutes into the encounter, the cooldown for every battle rez caster in the raid will be 1.5 minutes long since the team’s second battle rez becomes available at that time.  If a caster uses the first battle rez on someone 5 minutes into the encounter, the raid will have earned a second charge and no one’s battle rez spell will go on cooldown.  If the raid team has additional charges, all battle rez casters will NOT be on cooldown, even the caster.

Effectively, in a 15 minute encounter with 20 raiders, a sole Druid can cast all three Rebirths.  She could cast them once every 4.5 minutes, or, if raiders have died only after 13.5 minutes have elapsed, she could cast all three in quick succession.

No matter how much time is left on a caster’s battle rez cooldown, it will reset at the end of a boss encounter (killing the boss or wiping to the boss).  However, if a battle rez was used on the trash leading up to a raid boss, that specific caster will have to wait for the full 10 minute cooldown before being able to cast it, even if the raid has pulled a boss and the raid has charges available.  In this scenario, other battle rez casters will still be able to use theirs normally.

Tracking the Shared Battle Rez Charges

The best way to manage your raids shared battle rez charges is to use a simple tracking addon.  Personally, I find oRA3 to track encounter battle resurrections very effectively.  The oRA3 addon does a lot of raid leader related things (tracking healer and dps cooldown usage, making it easier to invite many people at once for a raid, etc), but for battle rezzes specifically it puts a timer and a counter on my screen, which tells me at a quick glance how many battle rezzes are currently available in this encounter and how long until the next one will be available.  It also shows who rezzed who throughout the encounter.

Since I’ve been using oRA3 as a general raid addon for years, I haven’t searched out other options for battle rez tracking.  If anyone has a suggestion for a solid, standalone, battle rez tracking addon I’d love to hear about it!