Its been just a little over a month since our 10 man group took Arthas down and since then we’ve been busy working on hard modes. We’ve tried to avoid changing our play schedules to push hard modes because quite frankly we are at heart a casual bunch and we know once we get to Heroic Arthas we’ll be stuck for a while so whats the rush! So far we’ve been pretty successful sitting at 10/12 ICC 10 hard modes complete. Sindragosa was the most recent one to fall after some really frustrating nights. That only leaves Heroic Putricide and Arthas left.
Heroic Deathbringer Saurfang
The first ICC10 hard mode discussion will be Heroic Deathbringer Saurfang. While he may not be the first boss in the instance, I felt this would be a good one to start with as he is the first boss that drops ilv 264 tokens for T10 and most likely the one that is causing people a lot of problems early on. I’ve also decided on a slightly different structure as opposed to some of the prior hard mode discussions I’ve had, hopefully they provide better insight.
Normal vs Heroic Mode
The mechanics of the fight in heroic mode are essentially the same as in normal mode. The one major difference is Blood Beasts now have an ability:
Scent of Blood: Saurfang’s Blood Beasts catch the scent of blood, reducing all nearby enemies movement speed by 80% and increasing their damage by 300% for 10 seconds.
Keys to the Fight
- Blood Beast Control
- Minimizing Blood Power Gain
- Balancing Control vs DPS Output
Blood Beasts are the most challenging piece of this heroic mode. In normal mode, you have full mobility to kite them or in worst case scenarios let them wack you and let Saurfang gain Blood Power. In Heroic mode, this is not an option as they cannot be kited due to Scent of Blood which reduces your mobility. If they do manage to catch you, it is essentially a wipe as they will in most cases, one shot the target. Without any mobility, more creatives ways to manage the adds must be used (more on that later).
Blood Power is more of a side effect on normal mode, where letting Saurfang gain some here and there isn’t such a bad thing and might not necessarily cause a wipe. In heroic mode its extremely important to try your best to minimize the gain. The more he gains, the faster he’ll cast Mark of the Fallen Champion, anymore than 2 and you’ll be in for a tough ride.
Finally, and most importantly balance. You need enough control to manage adds, but you also need enough dps to kill Saurfang. If you control too much you wont have enough dps to kill Saurfang, and vice versa if you have too much dps on Saurfang, you wont have enough control to kill adds. Every group is slightly different but you need to find your balance to see what is the minimum amount you need to control while dpsing to your fullest.
First and foremost, we used a 2 tank, 2 healer, 6 dps group composition. A 3rd healer is too much control and not enough dps which will cause Saurfang to get too many Mark of the Fallen Champion which will become unhealable. How your dps is split is up to you and irrelevant. If you’re wondering, our composition is 2 ranged (hunter/spriest) and 3 melee (arms war/ret pally/unholy dk).
As mentioned above, the main challenge of this fight is to control the Blood Beasts. When they spawn, they are fast little buggers so you need to use what abilities are available in your raid to slow them down. We use a “criss cross” type strategy where essentially we force the adds to cross paths (close to each other) which enable us to AOE stun (Warrior Shockwave) to lock them in place. Our ranged then focus on one add (for us always the left one) and I root the right one. That gives our ranged extra time to single target the adds down one at a time. Most likely the target add will still be able to reach their target before it dies so we use aggro dumps and taunts to bounce the add back and forth until it dies. At which point the focus will be switched to the rooted blood beast, naturally similar bouncing techniques are used again for the second add.
The positioning of your ranged is quite critical to the success of the strategy as it will affect which direction your blood beasts will travel. We generally put our healers in the middle so that the initial aggro will force the blood beasts to naturally criss cross or at move in the same direction. Our ranged are spread far left and far right to maximize the distance that the blood beasts will have to ping pong back and forth which again extends the amount of time. Finally and most importantly the blood beasts may not always criss cross naturally so our hunter (on the right) will always pull aggro on the initial target (on the left) which will further force them to criss cross and allow for a stun.
A typical chain of events would be.
- Hunter drops Frost Trap on spawn point
- Adds Spawn and move towards ranged (generally healers)
- AOE stun to lock them in place
- Entangling Roots on right add (locked until the other add is dead)
- Spriest/Hunter dps add, slowing it via Mind Flay, Concussive Shot
- Beast will target hunter (Midsirection for aggro if necessary), and when it gets close, hunter will Feign Death
- Beast will go towards the spriest and die before it reaches
- Switch to second beast, again will go after hunter
- Ret paladin will taunt as it gets close to hunter/Hammer of Justice if necessary
- Add dies
As you can see, from the series of events its essentially bouncing the adds back and forth until they are dead. Its important to be extremely vocal to ensure that all parties are aware of where the adds are and who they are going after. Naturally, not every raid group will have the same composition but depending on what you have you can use different strategies. For example, this week we didn’t have a warrior tank so we used a warlock Shadowfury to aoe stun in place. It is important to note that only two dps are used to kill adds, having 6 dps total is meant to speed up the fight to avoid getting extra Mark of the Fallen Champion. If you put too many dps on adds you won’t be able to bring him down fast enough.
- Turn Saurfang so that he faces the door, it helps to increase the kite distance slightly
- Ensure that your ranged are max ranged to maximize the kite distance, as soon as Scent of Blood is cast he/she wont be able to move
- If you have paladins/priests, feel free to use Blessing of Protection/Shields to reduce Blood Power gain
- If you are feral and rooting, try and time your rips so that they are applied before Beasts spawn so that you don’t lose much time and you also have an instant root!
- As the person rooting, it is imperative that you keep an eye on your rooted target to ensure that it does not break lose or if your ranged need assistance that you chain root it to help them out.
Thats it for Saurfang, up next Heroic Marrowgar!