Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heroic Morchok: Tips for the Enhancement Shaman

You've done it! Your guild has defeated Deathwing on regular mode and now you all want to jump back to a time when the Wyrmrest Temple was still crawling with baddies, though this time around you intend to make terrible jokes about the bosses' mothers in order to make your encounter with them more difficult. By this I mean that you and your guild are looking for a more challenging Dragon Soul raid, heroic style.

What can you do as an enhancement shaman to help your raid succeed with taking down Morchok and his evil twin, Kochrom? There are plenty of little things that you can do to help out your healers while still maintaining the pressure on the boss you're assigned to. Enhancement does very well with this fight, and thus far the only classes that have been beating me out on damage have been those buggery rogues that are able to cloak their way out of the Black Blood damage. If you play your cards right, you'll be well on your way to topping the charts as well.

This "guide" is done under the assumption that you are already aware of how the mechanics differ between normal and heroic modes. If you'd like a text guide to help you along, please visit the guide over on Icy-Veins. With that said, I shall now try to lay down some tips and tricks for you all that I've been using.

You (Optional Ideas)
~ Spec ~
No fancy changes need to be made to your spec for this encounter.

~ Glyphs ~
I suggest considering trading out Glyph of Windfury Weapon for Glyph of Feral Spirit for this encounter. The reason behind this is two fold. 1) In the rare event that wolves come off of cooldown just before a Black Blood phase, your wolves will have increased damage on the boss as you're running away. 2) The higher AP of your wolves will increase your self healing, giving your healers a nice little break in what is a very healing intensive encounter.

If you have other nature resist buffs present (Mark of the Wild and Blessing of Kings for example), you may consider switching out Glyph of Healing Stream for Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem and begin to practice some minor "totem twisting" (dropping Stoneclaw for a moment to gain the shield buff, then switching back to your earth totem of choice) to help alleviate some damage to yourself if your healers are struggling.

~ Totems ~
Fire - Good ole Searing Totem.

Water - Healing stream totem, unless you don't have a paladin giving Blessing of Might or a Warlock in your group rocking the Fel Hunter, giving your group Fel Intelligence. In the rare event that you don't have a mana generation buff, use Mana Stream Totem.

Air - Windfury Totem (your casters should hopefully have the haste buff from either the Wrath of Air Totem from another shaman or from a shadow priest or moonkin)

Earth - There are three choices for this totem, one of which is temporary. Strength of Earth is our default totem, but isn't needed so long as there is a hunter with a cat (Roar of Courage) in proximity to us, a death knight using Horn of Winter, or a warrior using their Battle Shout. If the strength/agility buff is present, but there isn't another shaman nearby dropping Stoneskin Totem or a paladin with the Devotion Aura up, use Stoneskin Totem to help reduce some of the physical damage from the stop that the bosses do via increased armor. The third choice would be to twist in Stoneclaw totem to put a damage bubble on ourselves, and then switching back to either our SoE or SS totem.

For more information on totems and the glyphs that modify them, please see my guide on totems and their uses, which can be found here.

~ Heroism/Blood Lust ~
Save this buff until the last 20% or so of the bosses' health bars. Pop it right after a Black Blood phase has ended and everyone is once again positioned (do not pop it just before a Black Blood phase, I don't care if he's right at 20%...much more beneficial to everyone to wait on it for both healing and dps purposes). If your wolves are not up right when the time comes to Hero/Lust and you have a mage or another (preferably dps, since a resto may be tight on mana at this point) shaman in your group, consider having them pop the buff so that you may use yours on your wolves later on.

**Please note that Hero/Warp/Lust will not likely reach both groups at the end of the encounter. Each group needs their own separate haste buff. 10 man groups will have to take this into consideration as they set up the two groups.**

The Pull
Pre-pot as usual.

Open up your rotation as usual, with possible one adjustment. If you're assigned to stay on Morchok, feel free to pop your wolves right away and continue to use them as they come off of cooldown. If you're assigned to Kochrom, save them until he arrives into his designated position (or at least until your Kochrom tank has sufficient threat on him).

The Encounter
There are only a few minor things that change between the normal and heroic mode. For the most part for us it is still very much a tank and spank fight with a minor "get out of the bad" phase mixed in. Here are a few tips on how to maximize your dps while lowering your damage intake.

1) Learn to max distance the boss. Us mail wearing types can NOT eat the double stomp damage. Leave that to your crafty rogue friends or the dudes in plate. Please note that this gets a bit tricky, for the boss WILL shrink as the encounter goes on. Just be aware of how far you are from the boss while still being able to hack into his butt and you should be fine.

2) Ghost Wolf form is your friend. Glyph it, bind it, use it, love it. It will get you away from the boss faster in the Black Blood phase, help you get back to the boss after the Black Blood Phase has ended, and in the event that you find yourself having to soak some Resonating Crystal, it allows you to sit on the boss a second longer, get to the crystal, go boom (stay on the front side towards the boss, it'll knock you in his direction), and get you back to doing what you do.

3) Shamanistic Rage is your friend. During stomps or during crystal damage (assuming that for some odd reason you're having to run out to eat crystal damage) is a prime time to bust out this ability. Use it a few ticks before Morchok/Kochram have their stompy fit and your healers will love you. You'll only be able to use this ability once out of the four times they stomp in between Black Blood phases, so try to time it for when healer/raid tank CDs feel the weakest.

4) Racials are your friend. Are you a Dwarf or Draenei? If you're a Dwarf, you have another damage reduction CD to weave in by the name of Stoneform. For example you may want to use SR on stomp two and Stoneform on stomp four. If you're a Draenei, perhaps use SR on one of the stomps and then use Gift of the Naaru after another has occurred. Sure GotN seems to do beans for healing, however every little bit helps, especially on a first kill. (Sorry Horde, I'm not terribly familiar with your racials. You're all smart folk though, you can figure it out!)

5) Black Blood Phase - There is NO reason for you to sit on the outside of the earth fragments like an awkward looking lawn ornament. While your boss is casting Earthen Vortex, you should be swiveling your camera around, looking for the best set up of earth fragments to hide behind. Be on the look out for two or more spikes that are near enough together to provide adequate coverage from the Black Blood while not completely line of sighting you from the boss. Aim yourself in the direction of your coverage target, shift into ghost wolf the second he drops the raid, and make for your safe spot like your ghostly tail is on fire. Once you've safely arrived at your intended destination, go into caster mode. Unleash your weapon, cast your shocks, throw Lava Bursts at him when it's off cooldown, and spam the hell out of Lightning Bolt. Is it ideal? Nope, being ideal would be us being able to completely mitigate the Black Blood damage all together like our rogue brothers and sisters. It does however continue to put damage up on the boss, which is vital to beating the enrage timer.

Once this phase has ended, shift back into your puppy form and make a run for the boss. You then may resume your usual tank and spank tom foolery.

6) Healing isn't something that we should be doing very often (ideally never, but things can and do happen), but if you're sporting any variation of the T13 that gives you a set bonus, your healing spells have increased effect (2pc) and if your puppies are out, you're popping Maelstrom stacks like candy anyhow (4pc). Missing out on a Lightning Bolt is more than acceptable if it helps your healers out in a pinch. Drop a Healing Rain on the melee group during a stomp (ranged will be chilling with you then anyhow), throw an emergency heal on a player, do what you gotta do to help prevent a wipe. Just don't be spamming your Jesus Beams at everyone and their brother every time you get a stack of Maelstrom just because you can.

The Home Stretch (sub 20%)
This is the point where both bosses get Furious. Hero/Lust/Warp is rolling, what more can you do? Well, assuming that you pre-potted properly, this is the ideal time to be using that second potion. Likewise, this is the portion of the fight where it is exceptionally important that you are rolling defensive cooldowns. More than likely your wolves will be up during this phase, and this is really where switching out that glyph comes in handy. Having more self heals rolling on yourself lets the healers focus their mana more on keeping those tanks up through the increased damage, as well as just making it easier for them to take care of the chaos that is the last bit of this fight.

If you do your job correctly as an enhancement shaman (and of course, provided that the other 9 or 24 people you are raiding with do their jobs as well), you should have yourself some heroic loot in no time!

Heroic Loots
So the boss is dead and some stuff dropped that has agility on it. What's good for us, and what should be passed on?

Seal of Primordial Shadow - A ring that has a chance to drop off of Morchok, Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj, Hagara, and Warmaster Blackhorn. Best in slot item.

Vial of Shadows - A trinket that has a chance to drop off of Morchok, Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj, Hagara, and Warmaster Blackhorn. Best in slot item.

Sporebeard Gauntlets - Glove that drop off of Morchok. Can be used as an offset piece, but is better itemized for hunters by far. BiS gloves for enhance would be our tier gloves. These could be a viable off piece until you manage to land your heroic tier gloves because of the double red sockets, but ultimately this item is meant for hunters due to the lack luster secondary stats. Pass in my opinion, unless they sim out to be better than what you have with your personal set up.

Final Tips
Clear out a bit more of the trash on both sides than you think you'll need to. It sucks something fierce to get sub 5% on the boss only to have a crystal spawn a bit too close to a pack of mobs, having the ranged accidentally pull said mobs, and wipe the raid. Always be on the safe side, or you will more than likely be sorry.

Separate the two Morchok and Kochram groups in Ventrilo/Mumble. Once Morchok is below 90% health, the fight is essentially two different fights. To prevent confusion between the use of healing and tank cooldowns of the two groups, separate channels is advised. During this fight only two things need to be coordinated between the two groups, Heroism/Blood Lust and the calling of a wipe. Both of those things can be done efficiently through raid warnings.


I hope that those of you who have read this post walk away with something that helps you in your journey to defeat the Heroic Morchok encounter. If you feel that any of the information in this post is incorrect, or you have something to add, please leave a comment!

Good luck and have fun!

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