Disc Healing the Faction Champs
(or Basics of Arena Healing for PVE Elitist Asshats)
So we had the 10-man team up at the Argent Tournament grounds the other day for a go at the ToC. We took care of the Northrend Beasts and Lord Jaraxus in short order, but were having issues with the Faction Champs. We were able to drop 2 of the Champions on our attempts, but were losing too many of our DPS and healers getting to that point to be able to finish the last 4 off.
After the third wipe, the Resto Druid we pugged in says over vent, “Shit is coming after me like crazy with all the healing I am doing. Maybe Vesserion should do more healing and less dispelling next time.”
Vent got really quiet after that comment. I took a deep breath, and said “sure thing”.
So on the 4th attempt, I focused on healing, and not dispelling magic or curing diseases. And we didn’t even get one Champion down.
On the 5th attempt, I went back to playing the encounter the way an arena-experienced Disc Priest knows it should be played. And we downed the Faction Champs with no deaths.
I then linked the Dispel numbers from Recount to the raid, showing that I dispelled over 140 times during that attempt.
I don’t remember hearing any other comments from the Tree for the rest of the night. Odd that.
OK Listen Fcuk Ups! PVP healing is very different from PVE healing. Your whack-a-mole, roll some hots, look at me at the top of Recount approach to healing will not be successful in the arena, or against the Faction Champions (which is supposed to be representative of an arena match).
The Faction Champions (and arena opponents) use the same mechanics as we do. Which means that in order for them to be able to do burst damage, they generally need to have a specific debuff on their target.
So what do you think would happen if you quickly remove that debuff from one of your teammates, say by casting Dispel Magic, Cure Disease, or Mass Dispel? Do you think it would limit the amount of damage that can be done?
Look, I don’t claim to know every DPS class inside and out, but I do know about surviving in PVP when I am the target of a focus fire. When a Paladin judges you, you dispel it off. When a DK diseases you, you cure it. When you get frozen by a Frost Mage, you dispel it. When Shadow Priests and Warlocks DoT you (mostly), you dispel. And if you are still alive after all that cleansing, then you heal.
Simply put, purging debuffs will prevent your opponent from unleashing their burst damage.
Don’t remove the debuffs, and no matter how much healing you bring, it won’t be enough to keep your teammates alive. Burst damage > burst healing.
This isn’t PVE healing. It’s more like avoidance or mitigation. And it is the foundation upon which arena healing is built.
So what should a Disc Priest be doing during the Faction Champions fight?
Assuming that you have two other healers with you for this encounter (preferrably with smart aoe heals), you should probably be spending most of your time keeping people bubbled, purging magic and diseases as necessary, and dropping fear bombs.
Your offensive priorities are: 1. Offensive Dispels; 2. Fear Bomb.
Your defensive priorities are: 1. Defensive Dispels; 2. PW:S; 3. PoM; 4. Penance.
I kid you not, my direct healing spells were generally limited to PoM and Penance. If someone is taking damage, bubble them and let you other healers fill their health bars. If you can’t bubble someone who is taking damage because of the Weakened Soul debuff, hit them with PoM. (Don’t bother paying attention to how many bounces PoM has left, treat it as an instant cast heal. You basically want to replace Flash Heal with PoM for this fight.) Use Penance only when someone has gone below 50% health and you have already bubbled them. Keep Pain Suppression for yourself in case the Warrior, Paladin or Shaman gets up close and personal, as they can easily take you out in a second or two.
With all the purging you need to be doing, you won’t have time for a ton of healing. But that isn’t your job here. You are supposed to be preventing everyone from getting burst down, so purge/bubble/frisbee and let your raid healers do the heavy lifting.
You need to be moving alot during this fight, so instant casts are your friend. Dispeling requires you to be near the action at all times, and the battle tends to move around the arena floor. You also need to be running into the melee periodically to drop your fear bombs, and may need to kite the warlock or hunter pets that seem to find us so tasty.
You also need to pay close attention to the Raid Leader, who will call for dispels. We have been killing the druid first on most attempts, and it is necessary to dispel his HoTs off of him periodically. The Paladin can also bubble himself, or one of his allies, so you also need to be ready with a Mass Dispel. You also need to Mass Dispel the Shaman’s Bloodlust, quickly. MD can get rid of their buffs and your debuffs simultaneously, but it is a mana hog, so be careful with its use.
You should note that offensive dispels require that you have a lot more hit rating than most healing priests normally run with i.e. zero. (On 25-man, I am typically assigned to purely offensive dispels, so I am carrying a set of hit gear for this fight.) If you don’t have any hit gear on, which I didn’t in 10-man, you may need to cast more than once due to the dreaded “Miss”. We normally have our Shadow Priest back me up on the critical Mass Dispels in case I am silenced, out of position, spell locked, stunned, feared, or chillin with the Spirit Healer.
Know what you need to do as a Disc Priest in the Faction Champions fight, and just do it. And don’t take any shit from idiots who think they know what you should be doing.