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25 January 2011

Heroic Vortex Pinacle

TL;DR : For Altairus dogding whirlwinds is far far more important than wind changes.  I mention whirlwind so much that I want a thesaurus.

As you may have read yesterday, I have many excuses not to run heroics (but fewer reasons).  Last night I tanked Vortex Pinacle, my fourth heroic.  I set a 'finish time' of 11:30pm, but it was more like midnight. It was a nappy party.  Wipe, Wipe, Wipe.  But I did learn a bit, and next time it wont hurt so bad.

Most readers will be aware that backup healing helps.  A backup tank also works.  I have run with a bear/cat for two of my heroics, and found the extra defensive cooldowns/health pool a life saver.

The group consisted of my DK tank (foolich), Druid Moonkin, Druid Bear in mostly cat form, Hunter, and a Disc Priest, all on our first Heroic Vortex Pinacle attempt.  We had heard the second boss was painful.

I use the Sword and Board blog as a very short guide to what I should be doing, and it has worked well.  I don't do well at watching videos, text based strategies + experience works better for me.  I don't run as DPS.  Last night, we came up with our own strategies.

Before 1st boss trash tip:  A lot of the trash like to throw you off the platform.  It might not end in a wipe, but it's a pain when the tank (me) gets thrown away.  Having a second tank was good.  Stay close to the inside of paths where you can.
Before 3rd boss trash tip.  CC/magic damage does not work in or accross a lightning field.  Seperate Temple Adepts so they don't heal each other.  Interupt casters with gusto and glee.

Bosses 1 & 3 were largely according to Sword and Board.  On the final boss, the static cling is a killer if it co-incides with a lightning field.  We solved this by jumping lots (not pretty but it worked).

Altairus (second boss) was as hard as we had been told.    We had many plans that did not work.  It only takes one plan that does.  This boss does not have an enrage timer.  Deaths were caused by 3 things:
* bounced on 3 whirlwinds in a row
* bounced off the platform by whirlwind and insta-killed
* Healer out of mana

Our goal is to (A) avoid whirlwinds and (B) save healer mana. 

Apart from whirlwinds, the other significant damage was the bosses frost breath.  A DK's anti magic shell grants (near?) immunity to every second breath.  A prismatic elixir provides 90 magic resistance - with this and party buffs we ended up with 25% reduced magic damage.  DPS quaffing the magic resist elixir is worth it.

Being downwind means a movement and cast time debuff.  Conversely being upwind means a movement and cast time buff.  It does not affect heal per mana or damage per mana.  Being upwind is good because it allows you more time to dodge whirlwinds.  Any DPS/HPS benefit is trivial compared to avoiding whirlwinds.  Dead toons don't do much.

In the centre there seemed to be fewer whirlwinds, so we put both the boss and our party (bar the hunter) in the middle.  Our healer concentrated on mana efficient heals, letting party health drop when we did get hit by the whirlwinds.

I understand that whirlwinds are getting nerfed, and our gear will only get better, so the fight will become easier.  I am glad we did it while it is 'hard'.

In summary, our strategy that succeded was:
* Avoid whirlwind
* Mostly ignore wind changes
* Everyone + Boss (except Hunters) in the middle.
* Mana efficient healing


  1. It's good you are doing them, while they are still challeging. Come next tier, they are going to be mindlessly boring.

    Not reacting to wind changes is a big mistake. Your dps will get a huge boost from standing correctly. It's not hard to do, if you are tanking the boss somewhat close to the center of the platform. Dodging whirlwinds is a matter of practice and shouldnt prevent you from moving around a bit.

    On the third boss the priest should have plenty of time to dispell static cling. The two druids can even shapeshift out of it. The boss always casts it right after a chain lightning, so you can be ready to jump every time.

    I'm not trying to be elitist here :) I just think a lot of casual groups could do better with just a bit more strategy.

  2. I always tank the boss with my tankadin at one of the northern pillars (see the dots: http://www.wowhead.com/maps?data=5035:512790534803). At the right location not a single whirlwind will affect the tank giving her enough time to concentrate and assist with cooldowns and self-healing (World of Glory). Melee DPS also have to worry less about positioning since the boss doesn't move around all the time. I never turn the boss because it carries the risk of breathing onto someone, as a tank I also really don't need the attack speed increasement as the additional threat is not needed. As long as the healer dodges the whirlwinds well enough not to fall off the platform, it's usually a kill.

  3. Hmm, I can understand where as a tank, you're placing the emphasis on the part you have a responsibility for. However, as a dps main (fire mage), I kinda disagree with you as to the emphasis of the wind buff/debuff. Many fights will turn on the strength of the tank or healer, but this fight is all about the dps performance. Dps here absolutely have the responsibility to use the wind buff to blast the heck out of the boss, and yes, it is fair to expect them to do that while not dying to WW. It's hard, but that's what it takes for a clean win. Inevitably, with any group, *someone* will eventually hit a WW, and then it's mostly RNG whether they will die from it. Between that and frost breath damage making healer mana eventually unsustainable, this fight is essentially a continually increasing soft enrage. Good dps, properly using the wind buff, will cut the fight length in half or more compared to dps ignoring the wind buff, and that will make a tremendous difference.

    Also, to Zero's point (and I adore you for your mods, btw) as a dps I really like it when the tank stays in the middle. When a tank is off to one side, sometimes that "upwind" area is awfully cramped.

  4. Oh, and don't take me wrong, that was not meant to diminish your efforts, and congrats on a very very tough first kill! That's also the same strat we used for our first kill, because it's just what it took for the dps to learn to avoid WW.

    However, when you get in for your second kill, dps needs to step up a notch. You'll be amazed at how much easier this fight is (in every respect, including how much more forgiving of mistakes) when all three dps are in the 15-20k range, which is very very doable with that buff.


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