[4.2] Timed Zul’Aman, Cataclysm Edition

This is one of two slightly out of date posts that have been sitting in my draft folder for about a month or so.  They were intended to be helpful posts and may still be useful so I’ve decided to finish them up and post them.  Here is the first, and I’ll have the second ready to go before the holiday.  Perhaps this will find someone still striving for their ZA timed run bear mount. =D

Healing Tip 1: Use Mana Regen Abilities on Cooldown
This should go without saying.  No matter where I was in the dungeon, whether we were pulling trash or coming up on a boss if I saw Innervate available I used it.  I might say to check your mana levels, but I never found myself with full mana while Innervate was available.  Your tank should be pulling something constantly, and you should constantly be healing your tank and DPS at all times.

Healing Tip 2: Bring Lots of Mana Potions (and Water)
When my mana dipped to around 50% and Innervate was on cooldown, I hit a mana potion.  Even if you are just pulling trash, use those mana pots often and early.  In a timed run you will not have the luxury of starting any major encounter with a full mana bar so prop up your reserves as much as possible during the trash.  Likewise, drink mana regen water as often as you can without slowing the group, even if you can only get one or two ticks off.  It will help.  The free pineapple drinks dropped from Heroic Deadmines trash are great for this.

Healing Tip 3: Don’t Let Them DIAF
Zul’Aman has some nasty ground effects, especially those Earthquake abilities near the Dragonhawk boss.  While your tanks and DPS should move out of those effects, don’t be afraid to throw them a barrage of liberal heals to help them survive…and pop a mana potion right after so you are good to go for the next pull.  Dead DPS waste time being resurrected and increase the likelihood of a group wipe.

Strategy Tip 1: Order of Bosses
I would recommend going for the Eagle boss first, than across the room to Bear.  After him head over to Dragonhawk, and again across the room to Lynx.  In this order, the Eagle and Bear bosses will both increase your timers, but the Dragonhawk and Lynx bosses will not.  Akil’zon (Eagle) –> Nalorakk (Bear) –> Jan’alai (Dragonhawk) –> Halazzi (Lynx).

Strategy Tip 2: Ignore the Prisoners (and Skip the Loot)
This seems counter intuitive, but upon killing any of the bosses do not waste time freeing their prisoners!  They (and their special loot) will still be there at the end of the run, whether or not you manage to down all four bosses within the timer.  Skip all loot!  Trash and Boss alike.  Every second you waste clicking on a shiny mob is a second lost on the timer.   Boss loot will also be there for you to collect at the end of the run, trash loot will despawn but it’s a small price to pay for beating the timer.

Strategy Tip 3: Run Straight to the Eagle Boss Gauntlet
Once you’ve helped Vol’jin sound the gong, have your entire team mount up and start auto running into the door.  As soon as it opens, make a B-line to the gauntlet before Akil’zon (the Eagle Boss).  Drag all those mobs that jump you when the door opens with you to the gauntlet and pull that first pair.  Keep a sharp eye out as you run down the stairs however… pulling the two mobs that pat on accident will negate any time you may have saved by the headlong rush towards the gauntlet.  If you can, stay mounted and ignore the little mobs while waiting for the Troll patrol to move away. As soon as it is safe, rush the gauntlet. AoE the mobs, burn them down, as you kill one or both of the paired mobs, move up the ramp and pull the next set.

Strategy Tip 4: Skip the Trash
This one speaks for itself; whenever possible avoid mobs.  As mentioned above, the pair that pats by the stairs in the beginning are a good set to avoid constantly.  Likewise the pair that pat between the Dragonhawk and Lynx boss is a good one to skip.  If you have a Death Knight, Priest, or Shaman in your group you can Path of Frost, Levitate, or Waterwalk your way over the lake and past the pair of crocodiles that pat along the bank. On the way to Nalorakk (the Bear boss) a Rogue can sap the closest Bear as the group moves around the corner, avoid that pack.  Stun the Bear Riders around 50-45% health and you can probably avoid having them split into two mobs.  At the first set of stairs up to the Dragonhawk boss, make sure you stay to the left (and pull up onto the left side of the platform) to avoid accidentally aggoring the group waiting on the wings to the right of the stairs.

Strategy Tip 5: Pull as Much Trash as (Safety) Possible
Only pull necessary trash, but when you do, pull as much as you can to get through the dungeon quickly.  This mostly relates to two specific sections of Zul’Aman: the Eagle gauntlet and the stealthed Lynx packs.  You want to keep moving up the Eagle gauntlet as you kill off mobs, the trash spawns behind you will not stop until you pull the guy at the top of the stairs.  As for the stealthed Lynx packs, if your DPS can hold back enough not to pull aggro, your tank should be able to pull two groups right away and then the third once some are dead.

Strategy Tip 6: Handle the Scouts Carefully
Assign someone to be specifically in charge of watching for and CCing the Scouts on the way to Jan’alai (Dragonhawk), and a high burst DPSer to taking them out quickly.  If a Scout reaches a war drum they will sound an alarm, spawning a couple of very tough mobs.  At best you will have simply wasted some time, at worst these unexpected mobs can wipe your group.  Keep a sharp out for the Scouts!  Some will be stationary and some will walk around.  Occasionally, one will appear behind you; if you aren’t always on alert for that one it can easily ruin your timed run.

Strategy Tip 7: Discuss Your Plan of Attack
Before you ring the gong and get going, have a quick discussion with your group.  Will you be trying for the timed run? What’s the order for Surge on Nalorakk? (Bear)  Which hatcher will you kill for Jan’alai (Dragonhawk)?  Ask your CC classes to take the lead on CCing mobs in big trash packs.  As the healer, tell the tank what mana threshold you are comfortable with (i.e. “If I have 40% or more mana, just keep pushing for the timers.”).  Make sure the tank knows that they can pull Halazzi (Lynx) as soon as his trash is dead, even if you have close to 0 mana; the Water Totems will quickly get you back to 100%.  Remind the DPS not to stand in the bad (but heal them if they do).

Your best bet is to get a consistent team together and practice, practice, practice!  After some attempts where you have a chance to get a feel for your mana usage, the incoming damage, and how to handle the trash packs, you should be able to pull this off.  Good luck!!!