Shifting Perspectives: Druid tips to silencing The Black Forge
Welcome to Shifting Perspectives, Blizzard Watch’s regular column for druids of all vocations. This week, Chase Hasbrouck (@alarondruid) is on like a magnaron.
Welcome back to another Blackrock Foundry edition of Shifting Perspectives! Today, we’re going to continue our series on the bosses of Blackrock Foundry, moving on to the second wing, The Black Forge. (If you missed the beginning of our series, click here to read my druid guide to the first wing, The Slagworks.) The fights in this wing are a good bit more challenging; you’ll find managing your position to be key to avoiding the many traps that await you here.
Hanz and Franz
I hope you like to exercise, because this fight will give your fingers a workout. Put on some appropriate music, pop a Dramamine, and let’s get to work.
Movement: Heh. That’s kind of the thing, here. Dodging the Searing Plates isn’t too bad, but the entire raid will have to watch out for Body Slam, and of course the Pulverize stamper phase is nobody’s idea of a good time. Feline Swiftness is the only real talent choice here; Displacer Beast can save you from an awkwardly placed stamper, but will frequently deposit you directly in the path of another one. Squish. There really isn’t a good time to use Stampeding Roar here, so I treat it as a personal cooldown. If not tanking, it’s really important to keep track of where the tanks are; if you get targeted for Body Slam, you need to move away from the tank ASAP. That Shattered Vertebrae debuff is a tank-killer if it stacks up too far.
DPS: This is one of the (few) fights for Feral where Lunar Inspiration is a reasonable option over Bloodtalons. You’ll want to roll your DoTs on both Hans and Franz when they’re both down, and LI gives you a chance to do some damage even if the stampers separate you from the boss for a while. You’ll get two Berserks in; for your second, you can choose to either use it during the comparatively quiet phase around 30% for maximum personal DPS or save it for 10% and use it to help push through the final set of stampers.
Balance has things a little easier, though not much. The key here is to find the gaps between the belts to stand and cast, and be able to move to them consistently. Either way, given the strength of DoTs on this fight, both specs are very strong and should do quite well in the rankings.
Tanking: There are two primary concerns in this fight. The first is Crippling Suplex, which is a big attack that requires a CD three times during the fight. Survival Instincts can easily cover these. I prefer to glyph it to ensure the third charge is available when you need it. Other than that, the big thing to watch out for is Shattered Vertebrae. 1 stack isn’t an issue, but you’ll want Barkskin for 2, and call for external CD’s at 3 or more. Try not to do that frequently.
Healing: There’s not many fancy tricks here. The damage profile is essentially a slow rise until the first Pulverizing phase, where it ticks up sharply. After the Stamper phase (boss at 40%), it drops off significantly for a bit, then comes back hard for the last part of the fight. Strategy-wise, I’d focus a bit more on keeping double Rejuvenation on both tanks, and look to use a channeled mana potion around 40% boss health. I like to use Tranquility prior to the Stamper phases to ensure everyone is topped off.
Now we know why the Firelands raid only had seven bosses…one of them ended up in alternate Draenor.
Guardian and feral druids will have virtually no movement on this boss, as most of her abilities prefer ranged. Restoration and balance druids have a bit more to do, but it’s mostly stepping out of AoE’s; periodically, you’ll have to run a Molten Torrent in to melee, or run a fixated wolf out, but these only target one player at a time so you’ll likely only have to deal with this once or twice. Feline Swiftness is the choice here.
DPS: The key element of this boss is killing the wolves. Wolves spawn at 1 minute in then every 2:15 or so after that, which makes our 3-minute damage CD’s somewhat awkward. Ideal use is on pull and second wolf spawn, but if your group has to kill three sets, you may want to wait and use it on the first and third.
For feral, this is a fairly boring fight. Your role here is Ka’graz-killing, so you’ll be sitting on the boss most of the time, sliding out of Lava Slash lines as needed. When the two wolves spawn, aim to have 4-5 CP, TF up, and mostly full energy banked so you can immediately Rake/Rip the fixated wolf, then Rake the other (or others, if mythic). Your priority then is going to depend on your raid; typically, you’ll want to stay on Ka’graz and just Rake the wolves when it drops, but if your raid is having problems getting them down in time, you’ll want to devote more attention to them.
Balance is similar; you’ll want to conserve SS charges so you can start Starfalling immediately, and keep all three (or five) targets dotted. If you’re lucky enough to have the four-piece tier set bonus, you can likely use Celestial Alignment for each wolf spawn.
Tanking: The first minute of the fight is pretty easy – one tank takes Aknor until he dies, one tank takes Ka’graz. Once the wolves come out, the non-Ka’graz tank will pick up the non-fixated wolf and position them properly for Charring Breath. Most strategies involve taking all three breaths; you’ll want to Barkskin the second and Survival Instincts the third (plus any external CD’s your raid can spare). I do not recommend glyphing SI for this fight – the extra 3 seconds of duration can help healers stabilize you after the breath. Other then that, you’ll have to tank swap Ka’graz every 20 seconds or so, during her Flamefury/Rising Flames stage, which lasts for 50 seconds after she reaches 100 energy.
Healing: Healing is mostly tank healing with light raid damage, excepting the Firestorm phases at 2:00 and 4:15. For most of the fight, you’ll want to keep HoTs on active tanks, Wild Mushroom + Wild Growth to heal the stacks of players that take Molten Torrent damage, and light filler healing as needed. You can cover one of the Firestorms with Tranquility; and Incarnation Tree + Nature’s Vigil for the other.
Kologarn’s brother from another mother. Is equally annoyingly handsy.
Movement: Moderate. There’s a lot of stuff on the ground that you’re going to want to dodge. What’s most important, though, is dealing with the Runes of Grasping Earth. These come out around 50 seconds in (and every 2 minutes thereafter) and you have to be in one *by yourself* to get grabbed and protected from Thundering Blows. I highly recommend Stampeding Roar here to help people get to spots. On mythic, you’ll want to save it for the pillar phase to help people get from pillar to pillar.
DPS: This fight has two key DPS races. The first is the Rune of Grasping Earth/Thundering Blows interaction; the second is burning him through the last 30% of his health while he’s Frenzied. (Mythic adds a third, the pillar phase.) Balance druids are incredibly powerful on this fight for destroying hands with Starfall; even after the Starfall nerf, a balance druid should easily top meters on this fight by 10% or more.
In contrast, this is a fight that feral struggles on. It’s not as bad as Blast Furnace, but feral’s true value is in chipping in some off-healing and bursting down the boss sub-30%. (mythic is a bit better; feral burst is very useful on the pillar phases.) You’ll want to use Incarnation/Berserk on the pull and then in concert with Heroism/Bloodlust; depending on your raid’s DPS, you may be able to fit in a third. If you want to get fancy and scare your healers at the same time, you can skip the rune phase and add some DPS by using Skull Bash or Displacer Beast to avoid the knockup, and then popping Survival Instincts + Cenarion Ward + Rejuvenation to survive the Blows. (Don’t try this in mythic.)
Tanking: Tanking for this fight is extremely uncomplicated in theory, but can be somewhat difficult in practice. Other than the standard tank switch enforced by Warped Armor, Fists of Stone requires the tanks to stand on top of each other…but Slam requires you to run out and back in. If the tanks aren’t coordinated with this, it can lead to a tank taking an unsplit Fists of Stone immediately after a Slam, which usually means dead tank. There’s no specific points to use cooldowns in this fight, so feel free to use them at will, especially when the boss is sub-30% HP.
Healing: This fight is a *censored* to heal. There’s a ton of damage going out, most of it from the Stone Breath and Slam casts that come about every 25 seconds or so. These both hit the raid for about 30%ish damage, and he has no qualms about using them back-to-back. If your raiders get hit by any of the avoidable damage, they’re probably going to die. This fight demands healer coordination, more than any other; don’t feel bad about chaining healing cooldowns through the entire last 30%, if you can.
That’s it for this week! Sorry for not getting to any questions this week – I’ll be home from my business trip for next time, and will have more of a chance to answer the mail!
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