Weekly Warcraft Wednesday: Blackrock Foundry Healing Tips (Part 1)

As of yesterday Blackrock Foundry was live, with all its new bosses, new achievements, and of course new loot.  My guild got in there last night and we managed to kill Gruul.  It was fun being a part of a progression raiding guild for once; I’ve raided a bunch in the past but I never seemed to be in a group that was doing brand new content.  I always ended up in groups that were either lagging behind new content, or I had joined them after they had already conquered the new stuff, so I found it particularly satisfying to be able to say that I killed Gruul on the very first day he was out.  Our group elected not to go to Oregorger next (as most groups seem to be doing) and instead went to Hans’gar and Franzok.  I figured that this week I’d give some healing tips based on my personal experience with the content.  Hopefully it will help some of you fellow healers get a better feel for some of the encounters.

Trash mobs.

That’s right, I’m dedicating a whole section to the trash mobs in Blackrock Foundry.  As usual with new content, the trash is significantly harder than expected.  There are too many different types of trash to go over all of them but I do have some general healing tips.

  • Use all your mana.   Trash pulls in BRF tend to be short, but damage heavy encounters, after which you’re welcome to drink up, so don’t be afraid to use the mana you have available to you.  It takes the raid less time to wait for you to drink than it does to run back because you were trying to conserve mana.
  • Most trash encounters are very heavy on burst damage and can be made simpler by CC’ing and killing specific mobs. The flame binders (I believe that’s what their called) in specific will pulse a very nasty AoE damage effect on your raid if not dealt with quickly.  There are a lot of mechanics like this, so be ready.
  • Be careful where you stand. The trash in BRF tends to be relatively spread out, but it’s still close enough that you can body pull and extra group pretty easily.  This is made trickier by the mechanics of certain groups (I.e. you need to move out of ground effects but might not have anywhere safe to move to).

Gruul

Watching the FatBoss guide to Gruul made the fight seem much more complicated than it actually is.  FatBoss guides are great because they explain every mechanic the boss has, but most of the time only some of them will apply to your given role.  As healers our job is relatively easy, and it’s made easier by using a few simple tricks.

  • Have your raid leader place people in groups such that each group(s) will be taking one of the alternating Inferno Slices. So, in a 10 man raid, group 1 stands together, and group 2 stands together.  This way, when looking at your raid frames you can easily determine which group you should be focusing on before Gruul even casts Inferno Slice.
  • Be proactive about healing the appropriate Inferno Slice group. As a druid, I apply a rejuvenation to every member of the group before the get hit by Inferno Slice and immediately use genesis once they take the damage.  Regardless of your class, have your big AoE heal ready for the Inferno Slice and time it to heal as soon as they take damage.
  • Prioritize the tanks, especially the off-tank. Because of how Gruul’s mechanics work, it’s extremely difficult to kill the boss with one tank (unless he’s very close to dying).  Losing a DPS player is far easier to overcome than losing a tank.  Furthermore, the off-tank specifically will be taking large chunks of damage from Inferno Slice twice as often as either of the other groups, so make sure that they’re topped up within 15 seconds of taking that hit.
  • There is some movement in the fight, but not as much as it seems. Be prepared to move away from others when Gruul casts petrify, and strafe out of the overhead smash.  Neither of these abilities will happen to you all that often, and doing them correctly will effectively save you the need to heal anyway.  The only damage that cannot be avoided are the Inferno Slices and the petrify, which by themselves, are easy to deal with.

Hans’gar and Franzok

We were unable to kill these guys last night, but we were able to get them to about 3% of their health, so I feel confident that they’ll go down on our next raid.  In addition, we got to try them several times and learn their mechanics well.  This fight is a lot of fun, and actually quite easy when the mechanics are properly dealt with.  Also,  you gotta love the homage to Hans & Franz from Saturday Night Live.

  • There is only one truly deadly (and unavoidable) mechanic in the fight and it’s called Crippling Suplex. During this ability one of the bosses will pick up one of the two tanks and smash him into the other tank doing massive damage to the tank getting smashed into.  This happens often enough that it’s not possible for a tank to use a defensive cooldown for every single one.  It then follows that healers must rotate their own defensive cooldowns to prevent the tanks from dying.  As a healer you should be saving your Hand of Sacrifice, Pain Suppression, Iron Bark, etc… for these crippling suplexes.
  • The rest of the damage on this fight is minimal, but the fight requires a lot of movement. You will find that during the periods when either the plates are coming down the conveyor belts, or the stampers are hammering down, you have to be moving a lot.  The stampers are far more difficult to deal with than the plates, although both are fairly simple if you’re on your game.  Any movement enhancing ability you have is useful here.  As a druid I found Displacer Beast to be particularly useful for avoiding a stamper at the last second.  If your raid has good awareness, healing should be minimal during these phases, but if players make mistakes and get hit by stampers or plates they’re not going to last long.
  • The last 15% of the fight is pretty tough. We noticed that below 15% the bosses engaged both the plates and the stampers simultaneously, making movement even more difficult.  In addition, both bosses were out so there was more damage on the raid as a whole.  We opted to use Bloodlust / Heroism at the beginning of the fight, but it might be wise to save it for this last bit in order to get through the tough part as quickly as possible.

I hope these tips were helpful. I’ll be reporting in next week with more tips as our group works it’s way through this new raid.

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