Saturday, March 6, 2010

Heroic Moonkin: Storming The Citadel

Now that I've seen Hard Modes for a few weeks now I've been meaning to make a series of posts talking about them.  This isn't designed to be a strategy guide, although I will discuss parts of my guild's strategy for bosses here - this is more talking about issues you might see with the fights, and the best choices to optimize your role in them.

A note on specs:
I consider this to be the "core" moonkin talents.  There are two floater points that can pretty much go anywhere, depending on the fight - normally for single target they end up in Brambles for me.  So when I talk about "56/0/13 + 2" I'm saying use this spec.

Now on to the bosses:

Spec: Standard (56/0/13 + 2)
Glyphs: Moonfire/Starfire/(Starfall or IS)

Marrowgar is one of the most annoying fights in ICC as a moonkin in my experience.  The fight combines two negative factors:
1) High movement.  More importantly, unpredictable movement.  In Phase 1 you will have to move relatively randomly when Coldflame is going to hit you - in Phase 2 (Bonestorm) you have to move for either the boss moving toward you or if a Bone Spike is out of range.  Depending on strategy you may also need to move away from other ranged or healers.
2) Target-switching.  Killing Bone Spikes is a high priority, but the health is low enough that if the full raid switches you will rarely get more then one spell cast per target.

The key then is to negate the above two factors as much as possible, by minimizing movement and optimizing bone spike dps.  The first is very standard (and something that has to be done on nearly every fight).  During P1, use your dots to move without losing as much dps - for example if you're in a Lunar Eclipse, cast IS.  If IS is up, cast Gift of the Wild for a 2t10 proc.  Stand as far away from the boss as you reasonably can, this will give you time to react to Coldflame in the best manner (and also means that Coldflame is more likely to miss you).  During Bonestorm it's much more difficult to do this.  Use GotW liberally, and it's likely worth it to use DoTs on Bone Spikes when they first spawn if you need to move.  Keep in mind that being anywhere near the boss during this phase will likely kill you - the whirlwind effect does a lot of damage if you are close.

Optimizing Bone Spike dps is a bit different.  What I use is mouseover macros - for example, something like this for Wrath:
/cast [@mouseover,nohelp,nodead][] Wrath

This macro will cast on your mouseover target if they are hostile or neutral, and alive, otherwise on your regular target.  These require some precision with your mouse movement and you have to be careful that you target the correct thing.  But they allow you to simply mouseover a Bone Spike and keep spamming your rotation - you can target it afterward for more reliable dps, but for the initial switch mouseover macros can be very key. You can also switch targets using something like tabbing, mouse targetting or a /tar macro, but I find those to be less efficient.

A second optimization is position and facing.  As a caster it's important to note that you can hit anything that is within your forward 180 degree arc, not simply what's directly in front of you.  Therefore on something like Marrowgar I almost never look directly at the boss - instead, I try to stand on the outside edge and I face the rough center of the raid.  Then no matter where a Bone Spike spawns it's in front of me and I can hit it without changing the direction I'm facing.

Lady Deathwhisper
Spec: AOE (56/0/13 + 2/2 Gale Winds).  Consider glyphed Typhoon from a point of Improved Insect Swarm for additional Phase1 dps if your guild is struggling with killing adds.
Glyphs: Moonfire/Starfire/Starfall
Note: My guild uses a strategy where we stand behind Lady Deathwhisper and AOE the adds down.  If your guild doesn't use this strategy you should concentrate more on single-target dps in your spec.

The first thing I want to talk about is Mind Controls.  Heroic DW mind controls three targets at a time, and having some sort of CC on them is fairly critical - 35k starfires will one shot almost anyone, as an example.  Cyclone is pretty ideal for this - it lasts almost the same time as the MC, it works on anyone and it also keeps them from taking incidental damage.  Target switching to Cyclone is going to impact your dps negatively however, so again I go with mouseover macros (focus is included for more controlled CC on something like Faction Champs):
/cast [@mouseover,nohelp,nodead][@focus,nohelp,nodead][] Cyclone
This will let you Cyclone those MCed targets without switching off Deathwhisper.

Now, onto the fight:
Lady DW has two phases.  Phase 1 is the dps race - it's not exceptionally difficult, but good dps is important to help with a clean P1->P2 transition.  Therefore I spec to increase AOE dps.  Typhoon is somewhat iffy because Starfall will haste your Hurricanes most of the time, therefore I don't normally include it here.  More importantly you may be threat capped quite often in Phase 2, so increasing you single-target dps won't help much.

Phase 2 is the harder part of the fight and is simply about staying alive.  Ghost explosions won't one-shot anyone, but it will leave them low enough that any other source of damage will kill them.  They also have a 20-yard range, and combined with Lady DWs frost AOE this can easily kill multiple people.  So:
1) If you are slowed (due to the frost AOE), then keep in mind you can shift out of Moonkin Form to break it.  If a ghost spawns near you this can easily save your life (and other people too).
2) Ghosts will only explode if they reach their actual target - they can run over other people without causing any issue.  If you have some sort of aggro alert (I use Power Auras) then that will tell you whether or not a ghost is targeting you.  You will still need to move when they first spawn so you have time to get away, but the difference between 1-2 seconds of movement and 4-5 is very significant.
3) Turn off unimportant UI elements like health bars for Phase 2 - there is a very distinctive lightning-like effect when ghosts are spawning that you can use as an early warning system, but it can be hard to see if adds or other player are close, or if you have something like DBM bars obscuring it.
4) Watch your threat - I always stay below 100% of the current tank.  Keep in mind if you are mind controlled it will reset your threat.  If you are threat capped on Lady Deathwhisper then consider helping out on the side adds that spawn.

Have fun.

Deathbringer Saurfang
Spec: AOE (56/0/13 + 1 + Typhoon) - if you don't need Typhoon for Blood Beasts then skip the talent.
Glyphs: Moonfire/Starfire/Starfall

This fight is very straightforward as a dps - you probably won't have to move at all.  The most complicated parts are the target switch to burn blood beasts and using Typhoon (if necessary).

Typhoon is very simple - use it when your guild wants you to.  We use a warlock AOE stun (3 seconds) followed by Typhoon to knockback and daze adds, and that's it - everything dies before that wears off.  You'll probably be assigned to dps an add or a side, so just switch to one - the mouseover macros I talked about with Marrowgar work here, but since the adds always spawn in the same spot clicking or tabbing can work fine too.

Keep in mind that for Blood Beasts, the main stars on Starfall are not considered AOE and will do full damage - using it will substantially help burning them down.

That's it for the start of Icecrown Citadel - the next post will be covering the blood wing.