Healing Perspectives: The Stone Guard

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This is a really cool fight which involves battling three out of the four stone statues guarding the vaults. The four guardians are Jade, Amethyst, Jasper and Cobalt – each having different abilities in addition to their AoE “overload”.  The mechanics of the fight in general rely on watching the energy bar of the guardian, well-timed tank swaps, and making sure that the right type of guardian is doing the overload so it is mitigated by the debuff they provide.

Note that this fight highly depends on your tanks. It is a test of skill, communication and gear all at once. The tank swaps rely on both tanks keeping an eye on the energy of the guardians and swapping the right ones. All the guardians hit fairly hard and additionally have a DoT Rend Flesh which hits for 50k damage per second so having the appropriate level of gear can make or break attempts early on.

Overall:

Heavy tank heals: These guardians hit for a significant amount with Rend Flesh in addition to their standard melee hits,  and I often found myself preferring to use my shorter healing cooldowns to deal with the incoming damage. Spirit Shell and Pain Suppression  can be  real life savers for this portion.

Heal through Overload: The big thing for us to watch out for is Overload – a big AoE cast by the guardian when they reach 100 energy. This is predictable, and it is key to line up shorter healing cooldowns (Healing shrooms, Spirit shell, Archangel, Synapse Springs etc) to deal with the incoming damage, if necessary. In the predicted overload casts, the AoE damage by the stone guardian is usually mitigated by the the damage reduction debuff from them ( 90% reduction on normal) as well – so while the damage is significant, it’s not ground-breaking. On normal, the mitigated version of Overload hits for about 50k.

Use raid cooldowns for “undampened overload”: This is the kind of overload that isn’t planned and ideally we won’t see in the fight. In essence, we eat the entirety of the AoE without any help from the damage mitigation debuff. That hits like a truck and it’s vital to use mitigating and healing cooldowns to survive it if it does occur.

Statue specifics:

Cobalt

Avoid Cobalt Mine: The cobalt guardian will randomly cast Cobalt Mine on a player which has a nasty arcane damage component to it and will detonate if any player is within 7 yards. In general, you want to avoid these mines since they hit for 175k. However, these mines need to occasionally be reset as they’ll cover the entire floor.

Reset mines during Cobalt Petrification: This is the ideal time to detonate mines and clear the room since players take decreased damage from the mines with Cobalt Petrification.

Jade

Heal through Jade Shards: The Jade guardian does a standard, unavoidable AoE with Jade Shards that cause 50k nature damage. Lining up the shorter cooldowns for this is fantastic – Spirit Shell is particularly powerful in mitigating damage for this phase.

Jasper

Heal/Move for Jasper Chains: With Jasper Chains, two players are linked and take increasing damage the farther they’re apart. There are two ways to deal with this:

  •  Depending on the raid strategy, some groups choose to break the chains by standing over 10 yards away and slowly dipping in and out of range and to deal with the damage until the chains break. If this is the strategy, put some heavy on heals on the chained folks.
  • Groups also opt to avoid the damage altogether and not break the chains at all. If this is the case, buddy up with the person you’re chained to asap.

Amethyst

Avoid Purple Pools: Purple Goo is nasty – be sure to use any movement increasing abilities (Body and Soul, Leap of Faith etc) to give raid members an extra boost of speed if they need it to get out.

Talents and Glyphs:

– Glyph of Prayer of Mending, Glyph of Holy Fire, and Glyph of Penance

Glyph of Penance in particular was really useful in movement heavy phases. It meant that you could move and avoid pools/mines without having to interrupt one of the most efficient heals in our toolkit simply to avoid certain mechanics.

– Mindbender, Cascade, Power Infusion, Body and Soul, Desperate Prayer

As Discipline, our AoE heal options seemed tied to Prayer of Healing having Cascade an instant was immensely useful. Power Infusion was a fantastic cooldown for me to go to when things got hairy and I needed to mitigate damage quickly.

That about wraps it up for the Stone Guards. Being my first raid encounter as the new 12-cooldown-tracking Discipline priest, it made for an interesting experience. It’s a fantastic time to find a good balance between healing throughput and the longevity of the fight as well as getting used to the madness that is now my cooldown bar. 🙂

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