Classic Shaman Naxxramas Boss Strategy Guide
This guide focuses on Shaman/healer gameplay in Naxxramas and is a reworked copy-pasta from the Priest Naxx guide done by Hareem - Incendius. It is long because there are 15 bosses, many of which present raid mechanics that are unique to Classic, and healers who have no Naxx experience may be unfamiliar with them. There is no TLDR, however, I will not go into depth on consumables, specs or other topics covered in my Shaman guide.
Patchwerk is likely to be the most difficult boss in the Construct wing. His high HP (3.85 million) and his Hateful Strike mechanic make for a challenging healer fight. A simple rule of thumb for healers - the lower your raid’s DPS, the longer this fight drags on, and the more mana you need to keep the tanks alive. This fight is not a DPS check for modern players, it is a healer check.
To get an idea of how quickly your group will kill Patchwerk, look at your raid DPS on Fankriss. Considering the difference in health pools, inflated DPS figures on Fankriss due to cooldowns such as Death Wish and Talisman of Ephemeral Power / Mind Quickening Gem, and that most groups will have less DPS players for Patchwerk than Fankriss, I suggest assuming your group’s Patchwerk DPS is 80% of Fankriss DPS. After calculating, divide 3,850,000 by this number and that gives you a fight length for Patchwerk, in seconds. You should expect any fight length past 3 minutes to strain your mana pool. If you’re a healer in this position, I would suggest a regen trinket in your second slot, the best choice being Shard of the Scale.
I suggest assigning two healers to the main tank (Patchwerk’s top threat target). This tank takes no Hateful Strikes. The other tanks will soak Hateful Strikes every 1.2 seconds, an average of 7k damage for each Hateful. One hateful tank needs at least 3 healers assigned. The main focus for healers is to constantly cast large heals on their assigned target. Healers will exclusively heal their assignment and no one else.
Healers on Hateful tank duty should choose a spell that heals for at least 1,800, in a 3 OT setup, 2,000 (more OTs means healers are more spread out so bigger spells are needed). This is to ensure the highest degree of safety, but depending on your mana limitations and how frequently you’re casting, you might have to adjust your rank at some point. It's important to do so if your current rank is going to run you OOM before the boss dies.
Your objective is to constantly have heals queued up, cancelling spells only at the last second. For healers assigned to hateful tanks, your most efficient itemization strategy is to equip T1 8pc and run HWr8 - HWr10. If you do not have T1 8pc then run T2 3pc with offset BiS and try and use the highest ranks of CH you can. Remember to cast cancel anything that you think will not be worth the mana expenditure. Patchwerk is a test in heal timing and mana management. I would not recommend using T2.5 as the haste benefit will be mitigated due to the intermittent nature of healing as well as the weaker initial land complicating required HPS needs.
I cannot stress this enough for healers in more casual groups with lower DPS. This fight will test the limits of your mana pool. Run MMPs and Runes off CD for this encounter. This will likely be true every single week for Patchwerk.
Grobbulus is one of the easiest bosses in Naxx. The main mechanic at play here is a disease ability he casts on a random target called Mutating Injection. When this effect is dispelled, a poison cloud appears at the player's feet that deals damage to anyone standing in range. The cloud will get bigger over time. The common strategy is to kite Grobbulus around the room clockwise starting at the ramp. The first injected player will run to just counterclockwise of the ramp to get dispelled, dropping a cloud. The next injected player will run to the position just counterclockwise of the first cloud, so on and so forth...
At the same time, the tank will very slowly “kite” the boss, in the opposite direction of the cloud placement, using every inch of the wall to widen the path. The dispel needs to occur as soon as the player is in the right position, not before. As such, it is advisable to have one healer take care of all dispelling. A cloud in the middle of the raid is one of two ways your group can wipe. Make sure you have a system in place that clearly communicates when the injected player is ready to be dispelled.
The second mechanic that can wipe your group is a frontal cone poison spray that spawns one blob for each player the spray hits. If a large portion of the raid gets hit with the spray (~4k damage per target) damage will be pretty high from the initial aoe of the spray and all the blobs. Its easy to pull aggro on blobs from doing high HPS if multiple players are hit by the spary; however, only one blob should spawn per poison spray. Remember not to stand in front of Grobbulus and the encounter should be straight forward.
Gluth has more mechanics to contend with than the previous two Construct wing bosses, in terms of raw difficulty, he falls somewhere between Grobbulus and Patchwerk. He melees shield-wearing tank for an average of 2k, so healers have to be somewhat attentive to the main tank’s HP bar. He has a frenzy, increasing melee damage done. If a Tranq Shot misses or a rotation is botched, expect heavy damage on the main tank until the frenzy can be removed.
Every 20 seconds, Gluth will cast a 20yard range Terrifying Roar -aka Fear. If you are in the MT or a melee group you need to have 100% Tremor Totem uptime. Gluth also has a Mortal Wound ability that decreases healing done by 10%. This stacks, it's basically the same as Kurinaxx in AQ20. Depending on your group’s DPS and how many stacks of the debuff your MT racks up, there will be a tank switch. Keep this in mind or have Gluth hard targeted in order to keep on top of who is currently tanking.
Besides all these mechanics, the other half of the fight are the zombies that spawn in the back of the room from three pipe-structures. Mages or Hunters will kite these zombies in the back of the room. While one Mage can handle all three spawn locations, most groups will use three to simplify their job. Each kiter should have a healer assigned to exclusively heal them. It is somewhat useless to assign more than one healer to a kiter as higher stacks of Infected Wounds can be very lethal to one-shot tier. Priest is by far the best suited healer for this job, because the zombies apply a stacking debuff that increases physical damage taken by 100. Once a kiter gets close to 10 stacks, one melee attack from a zombie will take their HP dangerously close to zero. A Priest should be able to constantly shield the kiter. If your Priests are normally assigned to MT/OT healing find a way to swap Shaman in for them on this encounter. Additionally, help your kiters out by Frost Shock(rank 1) any loose zombies, keeping Earthbind Totem down in strategic locations, etc.
The final mechanic is Decimate, which Gluth casts every 105 seconds. It reduces everyone’s HP to 5% of their max HP. Since it is percentage based, it will never kill anyone. No one will take non-decimate damage on this fight besides the main tank and mage kiters. All healers’ priority after a decimate goes out is to heal the tanks and kiters. Healers who pump a lot of HPS after a decimate might be prone to pulling aggro on zombies and getting themselves killed. This is a great time for an On-Use trinket such as Hibernation Crystal or ZHC.
Thaddius is a two-phase fight. Stalagg and Feugen comprise the first phase. Stalagg is on a platform to the left, Feugen to the right. Both will melee for about 2k on average, and both share an aoe Stomp ability that deals 1,500 damage to anyone in melee range, great for CHr1 spam. Every 20 seconds, the mini bosses will throw their top threat target (simply put, their tank) to the other platform. Healers need to be aware of when switches occur, and who their new platform tank is.
Stalagg is the far more dangerous boss of the two from a healer perspective. He periodically casts Power Surge, a haste ability that increases his melee speed by 280%, this cannot be dispelled. If Stalagg casts Power Surge and Stomp in quick succession, his tank will eat a lot of burst. Healers on Stalagg-side need to be on point with quick top-offs. I recommend two strong healers dedicated to healing only the tank on Stalagg-side, at least one being a Priest for PW:S catches. Whoever is tanking Stalagg should be using a shield and stoneshield potions to mitigate as much damage as possible.
Feugen is much more tame by comparison - he casts an aoe mana burn that can be outranged by all casters/healers along with his aoe Stomp and average 2k melee swing.
Your raid group will coordinate DPS such that both mini bosses die at the same time, at which point you will jump from the platforms to the lower-platform where Thaddius stands. Your main tank will pick up the boss and the second phase begins. Thaddius melees for an average of 1.7k on a non-shield wearing tank. The tank damage requirements are low enough that only two healers need be hard assigned to the MT -likely a Priest/Druid combo. One thing to keep in mind here is that the boss is tauntable. Perhaps your group can get away with the main tank wearing a shield, which will significantly lower Thaddius’s melee damage.
The positive-negative debuff, Polarity Shift, is the main mechanic of the second phase. Healers need to move to the appropriate side when a polarity shift occurs to avoid wiping their raid. The polarity debuffs increase damage done and damage taken. Thaddius will periodically cast Chain Lightning that deals moderate AoE nature damage. Healers should easily be able to top off this damage before another occurrence. The biggest potential threat is some idiot does not correctly swap sides. In this instance very large damage will be done that must be healed up ASAP so bust out CHr3. Otherwise the fight is pretty brainless at this point - keep the MT topped off, switch sides as needed, and top people off from chain lightning damage.
*Keep your eye on your threat meter and be ready to drop TA for any member of your group who may pull aggro.
Noth is the easiest or 2nd easiest boss in Naxx. He does not melee for a lot of damage on a plate-user. I suspect the most common, troublesome issue with Noth will be threat. If a clothie pulls threat, they may die in 1-2 melees. Healers should be aware that threat may be an issue, as his Blink is a complete aggro wipe and he is immune to Taunt. One trick you can apply is to keep your Searing Totem by his teleport location. Enough Searing Totems increase the potential for snap aggro to be generated onto a totem over a caster/healer.
Noth casts Curse on a large number of players, they need to be dispelled immediately by all Mages and Druids or the cursed players will be afflicted with Wrath of the Plaguebringer. This encounter can be thought of as the Decurse Wall. He will periodically Blink, teleporting 20 yards in a random direction and wiping threat completely. Additionally, players close to Noth when he blinks will affected by Cripple, reducing movement and attack speed, and strength. This should also be immediately dispelled.
90 seconds after he is engaged, Noth will jump to the balcony above his room and summon adds. These adds will be tanked in separate corners of the room and burned down. The simple approach is to divide your healers equally among the locations where the adds will be tanked. A clever healer can situate themselves as to be in range of at least two of these add clusters. They will be killed quickly, and they don’t deal much damage. That’s pretty much all there is to this fight. Noth is a great candidate for T2.5 hybrid DPSing.
Heigan is famous among Classic bosses for his dance mechanic and will demonstrate exactly how many brain dead idiots you're carrying in your raid. Besides this, he has a few abilities in his first phase that healers should know about. The first is his AoE Mana Burn, which will drain mana and deal equivalent damage (Shadow). Heigan should be tanked such that casters/healers can outrange this ability on the platform in the back of the room. Healers should notify the tank if Heigan’s Mana Burn is hitting casters/healers. He also casts a Disease, Decrepit Fever, on melee players that should be dispelled immediately so keep Disease Cleansing Totem down during this phase.
The other important mechanic besides the dance is Teleport. Heigan will choose 3 players and teleport them to the tunnel attached to the boss room - you have to fight your way back. If the group of 3 doesn’t have a healer, they will likely all die unless they use clever mechanics. Healers who are teleported should focus on keeping allies and themselves alive by any means while making their way back to Heigan’s room ASAP. Greater Shadow prot potions, swapping in a shield, Earthbind, Stoneclaw, and Frost Shock on the Maggots and Earth Shock on Eye Stalk's Mind Flay can be useful here. Getting teleported is by far the most annoying part of this fight.
I hope anyone reading this guide is familiar with the safety dance. 90 seconds after he is engaged, Heigan will teleport to the platform. All casters/healers will join the melee DPS and tanks on the lower floor and move around the room in a pattern to avoid Eruption. Dealing 4k damage, two eruptions will kill most players.
You can see the pattern of movement and eruption lines during this phase in my Heigan video. I strongly recommend you stay close to the platform as that will be the track with the shortest movement between eruptions. Pay attention to the boundaries and you should be able to learn the limits of each eruption zone easily. If you are unfamiliar with this encounter then I would advise you not to stop moving to cast any heals during the dance. However, a clever player running close to the platform can get a LHW off easily between at least one eruption per cycle. Don’t press your fortune and cast any more than 2 LHWs during the dance or you will die. The easiest places to heal are at the extreme ends of the dance. Try to save NS for one of the dances as it is almost assured some bunch of idiots will take damage off the initial or second eruption.
This encounter is another great opportunity to use T2.5 and do some spot DPS.
Loatheb is another uniquely designed boss, one that really deviates from previous raid content. It will be substantially easier for modern players than it was in 2006. Loatheb only casts one ability the entire fight: Inevitable Doom, starting at the 2 minute mark and every 30 seconds after..2:30, 3:00 etc.. that deals ~2,600 shadow damage to the whole raid.
The real catch to this fight is that healers can only cast one healing spell per minute due to Corrupted Mind. After casting a heal, you’ll get a debuff for one minute preventing any more healing spells. This does not apply to HST so make sure to drop that prior to pull and refresh it before each of your assigned heal windows. The encounter is designed around healers not being able to heal Loatheb’s damage that starts at 2 minutes. Your raid group needs greater GSPPs, Healthstones, and Bandages to survive Inevitable Doom. What is true of Patchwerk is also true here. The lower your DPS, the longer this fight drags on, the more consumables your group will have to use to survive.
Loatheb is pretty straightforward for healers. The only source of damage besides the Doom is Loatheb’s melees (1.4k average). All healers will only heal the main tank. Use your biggest direct healing spell and highest +heal gear. This is a great encounter for double high value On-Use trinkets like Hibernation Crystal, Scarab Brooch, etc. You can also use Major Recombobulator as one of your trinkets to get a ~1.5k+ heal that is unaffected by the lockout debuff. Make sure to math out the amount of healing lost across all your other heals to make sure this trade is worth it.
Number all your healers, for example with 12 healers, 1 to 12. Healer 1 will cast the first heal on the MT, then Healer 2 etc. in a strict rotation. Do not use T1 8pc, T2.5 5pc or T2 3pc on this encounter. Communication is crucial. Create a system that tells the raid (and other healers) when you have cast your heal on the tank. You can create a macro that types in raid chat + yell, and whispers the next healer in the rotation. Whatever works for your group, just make sure all healers are using the same system. Since healers only cast 1 spell per minute, you can determine an ideal time-interval between each heal. For a 12 healer group, the interval is 5 seconds (60 / 12). Regardless of overhealing, there’s no reason to wait longer than 5 seconds for the next healer in the rotation to cast their healing spell.
Raid DPS is significantly higher on Loatheb than other bosses because of the Spores. These give 50% crit and 100% threat reduction through the debuff Fungal Bloom, basically open license for your raid to rip huge DPS on Loatheb. They spawn one at a time and affect 5 players max, so parties will take turns collecting them. As your healing role is significantly impacted fill your downtime with both twisting and direct DPS to Loatheb.
Raszuvious has the most unique mechanic for Priests in all of Classic and can be thought of as a Priest IQ Wall. He does a clockwise patrol in his room between four adds called Understudies, each one has 91k health. Razuvious has one important ability - Disrupting Shout, which he casts every 25 seconds. It burns mana and deals equivalent damage to any mana users in his LoS, this should be easily avoided by Shaman. It also has a short stun component. Final element of design to this fight is that Razuvious melees for an absurd amount of damage, too much for a Warrior wearing mitigation gear to handle unless using Shield Wall. Priests Mind Control the understudies and use them to tank Razuvious - two Priests usually do all MCing, but you can use more. They should wear 3% hit to reach cap on the understudies.
The pull is the most important part of the fight. The Priest who initiates combat is the “main tank” as they have to position the boss. You should abide by three rules for the pull:
- When dragging Razuvious into position, the MC target stays within 20yds of your position.
- The final boss position is within 20yds of your position, and the two positions are out of LoS from each other.
- Casters can easily LoS the bosses’ Shout.
To execute the pull, the main tank Priest will Mind Soothe the two closest Understudies. You have to time it with Razuvious’s patrol - be ready to run into MC range just as he is patrolling away from the front-left Understudy. After Mind Soothing, run into range, staying close to the wall. Then Mind Control and immediately press Shield Wall and grab the boss with Taunt. If you cast MC and the boss does not proximity aggro, resist the urge to move the mob toward the boss. You risk breaking the MC. Instead, use a Hunter to grab the boss, make sure he gets pulled directly into the MCed Understudy for an easy pickup.
After your Understudy has aggro of the boss, you will walk the understudy back to the wall of the circular room, not the wall of the ramp. Drag Razuvious along the wall until he is basically directly on top of it. Then, drag him toward the ramp, only to the point where your Understudy is now in LoS of the healers who are on the ramp, aka the Shaman core. If this is unclear to you at all, Hareem suggests watching this video showing the basic maneuver for getting Razuvious to line up along the wall. Only pay attention to the pull and initial positioning.
Once the boss is in position it is our job to maintain the health pools of as many Understudies as we can. The three remaining Understudies will be off-tanked on the ramp. They have no abilities so it's safe to tank them anywhere. Assign 2 healers to keep an eye on the OTs. Everyone else will heal the Understudy that has aggro of Razuvious, or be on MC duty. Healers assigned to Understudy healing should peek out into the circular room for the pull, to make sure the first Understudy gets healed while the boss is being positioned.
The most annoying part of the fight is a debuff that gets applied to the Understudy after the MC finishes. The debuff prevents them from being MCed for one minute. This should only cause issues if you experience random early breaks on MC. To mitigate the risk, Hareem suggests the second Priest MC’s an understudy ~15 seconds into the fight. Move the second understudy into position for an easy swap - right on top of the first understudy. If the first MC randomly breaks, the second priest will taunt and keep the boss in the same position. After the swap, the Priest MT will MC a different Understudy and get into position for the next swap. This rotation continues until the boss dies.
There is not much to this boss for non-Priests; however, it is important to know their role as it is the main element of this encounter. For Shaman, either T1 8pc, if you can get any HW jumps between Understudies or players, or full +heal in all slots is the ideal gear set for this encounter. Try to make sure at least one Shaman in your raid has Healing Way so all Shaman can benefit from the 18% increase to Healing Wave's base. If you do not have Imp HW don’t worry but do not fall back to LHW. Simply cast your slow HW with the goal of keeping the Understudies topped off.
Gothik is easy so there won’t be too much detail. Your raid will split into two groups - “Live” and “Dead” sides. During the first phase, adds spawn on the Live side. Killing them generates new adds on the Dead side. The adds come in waves of three different types. Shaman can’t really do too much here other than DPS/heal but Priests can Shackle the mounted-Deathknight looking mobs called Unrelenting Riders on live side. Dead side players generally take more damage than Live side so put your heaviest duty raid healing Shaman here. Watch out for the Spectral Trainee Arcane Explosion and the Spectral Rider Unholy Aura.
After a while, Gothik will descend from his balcony and directly engage the raid. He periodically casts Shadow Bolt on a few random players for 2-2.5k damage. Besides this, there’s nothing to this phase, he will die very quickly.
This encounter is well suited to T2.5 and flex DPSing.
The Four Horsemen is one of the most interesting and engaging fights in Classic. The basic strategy is for the Horsemen to be tanked separately in the corners of the room. Each one applies a different Mark starting at 20 seconds and every 12 seconds thereafter. The marks deal damage, and leave a debuff that increases damage from additional marks of the same type only. Different marks apply different debuffs. The Horsemen cast mark on anyone within 65 yds and LoS of them, which is why they are tanked as far away from one another as possible. Tanks will swap between different Horsemen to avoid stacking too many of the same debuff. Dps and healers will have different rotations. The healer one is simple and effective.
Draw a line from all the corners to the middle of the room - mark the halfway points in each line. There should be four points - these are healer positions. When healers rotate, they will move clockwise from one position to the next. Assign 3 healers to each position, and number each positions’ healers Groups 1 through 3. All healers assigned Group 1 will rotate clockwise to the next position immediately after the first Mark is cast. All healers assigned Group 2 will rotate on the second mark, and Group 3 will go on the third, then Group 1 on the fourth, etc.
Healers will rotate every three marks the entire fight.
Besides different marks, the Horsemen have unique abilities that healers should be aware of.
Thane brings down a Meteor every 12-15 seconds that deals 14k damage split evenly among all players within 8 yds of the impact. Thane's Meteor will deal decent damage - you have at least 12 seconds to get these players topped off. Blameaux creates a Void Zone below a random player within her mark range. The Void Zone will deal heavy damage per second to anyone standing in it, two ticks will kill most players. Pay attention to where zones spawn, don’t get caught sleeping and don’t stand on/near other players. Additionally, try not to stand in a place that would deposit a Void Zone that would impede the flow of traffic or make the encounter more difficult for the other players in your raid. Zeliek casts a Holy Chain Lightning, Holy Wrath, that deals 500 damage, and bounces to anyone within 10yds, doubling in damage each jump. Mograine casts Righteous Fire on his aggro target that deals high initial and DoT fire damage. Some tanks will wear FR to mitigate this ability. Mograine deals the highest single-target damage among the 4, make sure the tank is constantly topped off.
Healers will spend the entire fight healing their quadrant's tank and rotating after three marks. Tanks will swap regularly to avoid too many marks. Pay attention when a swap occurs. Use target-of-target to see when the new tank has a hold on the horseman. Healing the tank is priority #1. Once you get the rotation down and get used to tank swaps, this fight becomes straightforward for healers.
This encounter is not well suited to T2.5.
Anub'Rekhan is tied with Noth for easiest boss in Naxx. Your group will designate two tanks to pick up the Crypt Guards that spawn at the beginning. Assigning one competent healer per OT should suffice. For the main tank who picks up the boss, assign three healers for safety, you can probably get away with two strong healers. After the Crypt Guards die, they will spawn Corpse Scarabs that will be AOE’d down. Keep an eye on your casters’ HP bars -especially Warlocks. Anub’rehkan periodically casts Impale, an ability that knocks up the ground in a line and sends players into the air. The initial damage + fall damage adds up to maybe 60-75% of a clothie’s total HP, with full world buffs, 50%. The raid should be easily topped off within a few GCDs before the next Impale. Locust Swarm is the main mechanic to deal with. It is an AOE ability that surrounds the boss by 30 yards and his run speed decreases by 40% when he casts it. Your tank will kite him around the edge of the room so the raid can easily outrange Swarm. Be aware of the boss and tank’s position. Keep the tank topped off, position properly, this boss will fall over for almost every group.
Anub’rehkan is well suited to T2.5 and flex DPSing unless your raid is prone to taking Impale damage.
Grand Widow Faerlina
Grand Widow Faerlina has two major components - AOE damage abilities and a Mind Control-centric mechanic for the Priests in your raid. Every 10 seconds, she casts a 40yd range Poison Bolt Volley on ~10 random players for 1,400 damage; it also applies a poison DoT that ticks for 400 every 2 seconds -great for Poison Cleansing Totem. Faerlina also casts a simple Rain of Fire that deals 2k damage per tick that can be easily healed with CHr3. Faerlina melees for 1,000-1,500 damage. Add all of this damage together and it still doesn’t amount to much, assuming your group isn’t prone to standing in fire. At the start of the fight, six adds surround the Grand Widow - two Followers, four Worshippers. The Worshippers will be tanked by OTs. One tank can safely pick up two Worshippers, they shouldn’t melee for much and have no abilities. One healer per OT should suffice.
Maexxna has three mechanics, the first is Web Wrap, which she casts at the 20 second mark, and every 40 seconds thereafter. The boss will knock 3 players straight backwards and wrap them in cocoons that incapacitate them and deal 700 damage every 2 seconds. These cocoons are called Web Wrap and can be broken with 6,000 damage, but targets will likely need healing. Assign 5 healers to heal any Web Wrapped targets - spread these healers along the wall directly behind Maexxna. Rest of the healers can be assigned to the main tank.
Every 40 seconds, she will cast Web Spray dealing 2k damage and incapacitating the entire raid for 8 seconds. The MT will continue eating Maexxna’s melees during this time. The common strategy is to apply as many HoT spells as possible to the tank prior to the Web Spray in order to keep them alive. Renew, 8/8 T2 Renew, Regrowth, Rejuv, PW:S, and Scarab Brooch are the available options. If your group can kill Maexxna prior to the 1:20 mark, your tank can simply Shield Wall the one Web Spray phase and preserve buff slots. After Web Spray fades from the raid, the #1 priority is to top off the MT’s health as quickly as possible. Save Nature’s Swiftness for this situation.
When Maexxna hits 30% health, she will Enrage, increasing melee attack speed and damage. While this extra damage is easily healable, it is crucial that your group does not get a Web Spray when Maexxna is enraged, as a tank without Shield Wall is unlikely to survive. Once you push Maexxna past 30%, you must kill her before a Web Spray.
This encounter is a decent use case for T2.5 flex DPSing on both Maexxna and the Web Sprays.
The penultimate boss, Sapphiron, has five abilities and two phases that alternate.
Frost Aura deals 600 maximum damage every 2 seconds (300 DTPS), it can be partially resisted - this ability persists the entire fight regardless of phase and does not cause pushback. For more information on how to mitigate the Frost Aura damage see the Shaman FrR Guide for Sapphiron. Every 24 seconds, Sapphiron casts the curse-effect Life Drain on 7-10 random players, dealing 2k damage every 3 seconds and healing Sapphiron for double that amount. This must be removed immediately! Blizzards will drift throughout the room in straight lines. They deal 3.5k damage every 2 seconds and slow movement speed by 65%. This is the only reason players would reposition during ground phases.
After 45 seconds of combat have elapsed, Sapphiron takes to the air and begins launching Icebolts at random players, one at a time. They deal roughly 3k damage and lock the player in an Iceblock that closely resembles the Mage ability - the player takes no damage but they are incapacitated for the 22 second duration. Icebolts have a 10yard splash radius, a large chunk of players frozen at the same time is not a desirable outcome.
After casting five Icebolts, Sapphiron casts his final ability Frost Breath, it is a very obvious ability and creates a forst orb in the middle of the room that slowly approaches the ground. Just before it touches the ground, it will explode for lethal damage. The mechanic here is for all non-frozen players to use one of the Iceblocks to LoS this ability. Any player who doesn’t will die. By the time the 3rd or 4th Icebolt goes out, players should be making their way toward a block.
Once Frost Breath goes out, the raid will resume Phase 1 positioning. All subsequent air phase occur at 67 second intervals, not 45. Most groups will either kill Sapphiron in two air phases or wipe, as your healers likely cannot sustain casting through three air phases.
Considerations for healers:
- All healers should prioritize spells that maximize HPM, this means LHW is relegated to life saving events.
- No Shaman should use T2.5 on progression
- Shaman should use T2 3pc with highest hybrid +heal/MP5 off pieces or T1 8pc
- All healers should use MMPs and Runes on cooldown, and ideally a Flask of Distilled Wisdom. Prepot GSPP to mitigate Rune damage.
This is the single most healing intensive fight in the entire game due to Frost Aura. Assuming your raid has an average of 150 FR equipped, it will deal ~9k DPS. The 2nd source of damage is tank damage. Sapphiron can hit fairly hard, so your tank will gear for mitigation. I suggest three healers dedicated to healing the tank, preferably non-Priests or Priests without 8/8 T2. All other healers are assigned to the raid.
Positioning is important for healers in this fight. Groups need to be set up such that your entire raid is within range of at least one HoT healer, if not two. Other positioning factors include Shaman FRT coverage. All these elements play into an optimal positioning setup. Communicate with your raid leader to ensure that healers are properly spread throughout the room.
The majority of Shaman will be casting CHr1 & 3. The efficiency and HPS combo of this spell is unmatched compared to the other spells in our arsenal. This requires some ability on part of the player to determine if anyone will be in range of the bounces. If not, utilize mid to high ranks of HW. You can do this either in conjunction with T1 8pc or not. If you think you can get HW bounces use T1 8pc, if not just use your best hybrid gear while maintaining T2 3pc. Consult the RShaman Calculator to determine what spells and ranks you should use.
Healers tend to fall behind in HPS during air phase. This is because healers are moving to Ice Blocks while the Frost Aura damage persists. Once behind an Iceblock Shaman should maximize CHr3 usage to top the raid and mitigate HPS loss due to required movement. Once the raid resets after a Frost Breath, there will be lots of ground to cover in healing. When transitioning from air phase into ground phase, melee will become your primary healing targets. Top them off before addressing the ranged as the Priests and Druid(s) should be prioing them. Rinse-repeat until victory.
Kel'Thuzad is the final and ultimate boss in all of Classic. He is the most difficult boss by far and is comprised of 3 phases. It is advisable to wear a bit of FrR for KT similar to Sapphiron. If you do decide to wear FrR do not opt to equip any more than the Week 1 Sapphiron gear set outlined here. Much of this boss is positioning and each raid may have different strategies on how to accomplish this boss. For the purposes of this guide I will go over a brief rundown on each Phase and provide healing specific tips relevant to each.
Phase 1: Add Phase
Phase 1 of KT is a relatively straight forward add phase. During this phase 3 types of adds will spawn in the cubbies around the perimeter of the room. As a healer your position will be within the circle in the middle of the room. The 3 add during this phase are: Unstoppable Abominations, Soldier of the Frozen Wastes, and Soul Weavers. Unstoppable Abominations need to be picked up by a tank and will do the majority of the damage in this phase unless shit hits the fan. These Aboms have a Moral Wound ability that will reduce incoming healing and make tank longevity an issue. They will either have to die quickly or Taunt rotations will have to be established to allow at risk tanks to recuperate. The Soldiers are very straight forward; simply have your ranged DPS burn them down or upon reaching the raid they will cast Dark Blast and explode causing significant AoE damage. Finally, the Soul Weavers, like the Soldiers, move slowly toward the center of the room casting a frontal cone, Wall of Souls. This ability is not dangerous if the Soul Weavers are killed before reaching the center of the room. If they do their frontal cone ability will knock players back potentially into other mob spawn areas leading to a wipe.
For healers there shouldn't be too much to this phase. Simply watch your tanks and make sure to pick up any raid damage caused by your ranged DPS failing in their job.
Phase 2: Kel'Thuzad [100%-40%]
Phase 2 is your first interaction with Kel'Thuzad himself. He has a host of abilities that require the raid to spread out quickly to avoid exaggerating several lethal mechanics. Healers concern themselves most with Frostbolt Volley, Detonate Mana and Frost Blast. Frostbolt Volley goes out every 15 seconds and deals unavoidable frost damage to the entire raid, a key reason to consider FrR gear. Detonate Mana is a particularly nasty mechanic that will burn 50% of the afflicted player's mana pool over 5 seconds before they explode dealing significant arcane damage to nearby players. Frost Blast is the second most dangerous mechanic in KT's arsenal. Every 30 seconds, KT will randomly target a player in the room blasting them with frost damage and freezing them, and all players within 10 yards of the target, in place. Any player frozen by Frost Blast will take 130% of their total health in damage over 5 seconds and need to be immediately healed. You must be aware of Frost Blast and this mechanic should be prominently displayed on your UI.
There are three more mechanics to concern yourself with during this phase. Shadow Fisure will place a random red circle on the ground periodically throughout the phase. After 3 seconds it will explode and deal lethal damage to anyone inside the perimeter. A Frostbolt - Single Target that will apply frost damage to the highest threat target and should be interrupted by your melee and cannot be redirected by Grounding. The final mechanic is also the most dangerous in this phase, Chains of Kel'Thuzad. Every minute, this ability will Mind Control the MT and 4 other unfortunate souls in your raid. The MCed players should be CCed by Mages and Warlocks; however, any player in the raid may use Magic Dust to apply a ranged CC in case of emergency.
As a Shaman, you should have Frost Resistance Totem down during this entire phase. The key mechanics to watch out for are the first three listed and our primary concern will be to LHW spam anyone affected by Frost Blast. During this phase make sure to maintain a 10 yard distance between yourself and any other players. The Shadow Fissure will seek to displace you and force elements of your raid to clump up so as to be susceptible to Frost Blast. If you are displaced by Shadow Fissure simply resume your position once the mechanic has ended.
Phase 3: Controlled Burn [40%-Dead]
Phase 3 is the final and most difficult phase of KT. While KT continues to perform all of his Phase 2 mechanics, he will spawn 5 Nerubian bigbois, Guardians of Icecrown, into the encounter which must be dealt with. Although up to 3 can be CCed with Shackle Undead, two must be tanked by OTs or kited. If you attempt to CC more than 3 of the Nerubians KT will cast Shackle Shatter breaking all CC on the adds and causing mayhem that will likely wipe your raid. This phase introduces additional difficulty to the healing roster as now two additional tanks will require a steady stream of healing. If you are assigned as one of the OT healers in this phase make sure not to run through other players or position yourself in a way that increases the risk to your raid from Frost Blast.
T2.5 will likely not be a viable option during this encounter. Lean toward T2 3pc with BiS offset or T1 8pc.