This is one in a series of posts covering resto-shaman-specific information for tier4 and tier5 boss fights. It will NOT be a boss kill strategy, rather a list of tips and tricks for your friendly neighborhood shaman to make these fights run a little more smoothly.
You made it! You’ve worked long and hard, geared up a raid, blasted through the rest of the bosses in SSC, and now you’re staring down the Coilfang Matron herself. Former handmaiden to Queen Azshara. Illidan’s right hand woman. Fish. Thing.
Regardless of how bad her hair is, she’s going to put up a rough fight, a step above anything else that’s gone on so far in SSC – understandably, since she’s *the end* of that step of progression and a benchmark on the way through Tier 5 on the way to Tier 6.
Vashj Basics (hold on to your hats folks, this is a complicated one):
- Vashj has three phases. During the first and third phases, you focus DPS on her. During phase 2 you must focus on doing about 12 things in order to take down her super uber pally bubble of doom.
- Phase 1: During Phase 1, the raid will all be up around Vashj’s platform, DPSing/Tanking. She periodically does an AOE Entangling Roots (Tanks must get Blessing of Freedom to remove this) – after which, if nobody is in melee range, she runs away and starts shooting. This hurts. Avoid it. She also does Shock Bursts (which hit the tank hard, stun him, and reduce aggro) and Static Charges, which damage both you and everyone around you. Don’t stand too close!
- Phase 2: At 70%, Vashj enters phase 2. She is invulnerable at this time, due to a shield that is supported by 4 beams (one beam for each of the four pillars around her platform). In addition to all the craziness that follows, she does a chain/forked lightning in an arc around the platform.
- Nagas – called “Coilfang Elite” – spawn every 45 seconds and are tanked/melee’d up on the platform. They have a *NASTY* frontal arc cleave. Do *not* stand in front of one of these guys.
- Striders – called “Coilfang Strider” – spawn every 60 seconds and must be kited around the outside edge of Vashj’s platform and killed by ranged DPS. They hit hard, do a lot of shadow damage, and have a Panic Aura that fears all players in an 8 yard range. Frostshocks and earthbind totems will help your kiters, but do not get too close.
- Elementals – come in two flavors – Enchanted and Tainted.
- Enchanted Elementals – spawn around the edge of the bottom of the stairs. They don’t have much HP, are immune to snares, CC, and frost damage, and slowly creep toward Vashj. If they get all the way to her, they increase her damage by 5%. Each. (if you see one loose up on the platform, shock it)
- Tainted Elementals – these show up every 50 seconds, and will poison spit a random member of the raid – CLEANSE THIS OFF! They don’t move, and must be killed within 15 seconds. Once they’re dead, they drop a Tainted Core.
- Tainted Cores: Once you loot a tainted core, you CAN NOT MOVE. It must be passed, player to player, to one of the four pillars (with beams) around the edge of her platform. Any (living) player next to an active pillar can dunk the core, and disable it. After all 4 pillars go down, Vashj enters phase 3.
- As a resto shaman, you will likely be positioned up on the top platform. You may be an official core-dunker, and you may not. Doesn’t matter. If someone has an active core, be standing by an active beam. You never know when you might be able to help get a core passed and dunked. Useful Core Macros.
- Phase 3: Same as phase 1, with the addition of cute sporebats that barf nasty green ooze that burns. (Think the Ooze Pools from some of the Bog Lords). The longer phase 3 goes on, the faster the sporebats show up, creating something of a 3-4 minute soft enrage timer. Keep a particularly close eye on the tanks/melee, who will likely get entangling roots in a goo patch at least once.
- For serious strategy, check out www.bosskillers.com or www.wowwiki.com
- For not so serious strategy, read about fighting Vashj as described by an caffeinated, hyper, narcoleptic gnome, and check out this illustrated guide…
Group Considerations: You *absolutely* want to have a shaman in the main tank group for this fight. If there are multiple shamans, this might not be you, but if there is only one, you’re it. Tag.
totems, Totems, TOTEMS!: Why must you have a shaman in the main tank group, you ask? One simple answer. Grounding Totem. Vashj’s Shock Burst, should it hit the tank, will not only smash her for around 9000 nature damage, but will also cause a major aggro reduction/dump. Tank loses aggro = bad. Keep grounding totem up *at all times*.
The other totemic consideration is for those pesky striders. They are, in fact, one of the three types of instance mobs in existence that are actually susceptible to earthbind. Whether you have a hunter, an elemental shaman, or a warlock kiting the striders, slowing them down is always good – so drop an earthbind around the edge as you can during phase 2.
Earthshield: The tank.
Heroism/Bloodlust?: Wait for phase 3 on this one. Depending on the raid, you may want to blow heroism/bloodlust right as phase 3 starts (if there are a lot of naga/striders left alive) or wait until closer to the end to burn her down as she gets closer to her enrage.
Don’t stand in the: green goo. Phase 3 sporebats barf green goo. Do *not* stand in it. It *will* kill you. Also, avoid anyone who has static charge. Oh – and don’t stand in front of the Naga (cleave!) or anywhere near the Striders (Fear!).
Shaman Friendly or Unfriendly: Friendly (in a way). This is one of the fights that takes advantage of just about *everything* a shaman has to offer. Assorted totems that change with each phase; earthshield on a tank taking a lot of damage, cleansing poison debuffs, chain heals to take care of entangling roots/static charge/lightning damage, earthbind and frostshock to assist your friendly strider kiters, and long term, long lasting, continual AOE healing over a chaotic fight. It took me probably a full night of attempts before I really felt comfortable with the level of chaos, and until our first kill before things became “second nature” – so be prepared to keep a lot of things on your mind for this fight.
- If you die to static charge, you don’t lose durability. Take advantage of this during phase 1/ phase 3, if a wipe is called, and go stand on top of anyone that gets static charged.
- If you are healing people on the stairs, keep in mind that every little change of direction on the stairs (or even being just a smidge back from the top step) will put you out of LOS.
- Remember that, even in all the chaos, you are first and foremost a healer. Don’t get so distracted by dropping totems, frostshocking striders, and making sure the beams are covered that you forget to heal the tank.
- Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep grounding totem up in phase 1 and 3. Always.
Good luck, have fun, and may the loot-fu be with you! Since we’ve finished going through Serpentshrine Cavern, expect a short detour back to touch on Gruul’s Lair and then a hop and a skip into Tempest Keep!
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