Baleroc Healer Strategy Guide (Heroic Mode included)
Table of Contents
- 1. Overview of the Fight
- 2. Abilities and Explanation
- +3. Strategy
- +4. Heroic Mode
This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Baleroc in Firelands. It is mostly targeted to healers who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.
This guide is updated for World of Warcraft WoD 6.1.2.
Baleroc, the Gatekeeper, is one the first five bosses of the Firelands raid instance.
This encounter will present you with an interesting set of mechanics where you need to heal specific DPS players to boost the healing you will do on the tank whose health and damage taken increase over time.
Overview of the Fight
Baleroc is a single phase fight, where you will not have to deal with any types of adds.
The boss will constantly increase the health of his main aggro target, while also increasing his own damage dealt, to a point where a 5M health pool on your tank will not be uncommon. There are some interesting mechanics which enable your healers to have the required output to heal the tank, and the DPS will have to perform some tasks to enable the healers to do this.
Abilities and Explanation
Baleroc has two categories of abilities. One category of abilities causes Baleroc to do massive amounts of damage and provides the tank with sufficient health to survive, while the other provides healers with the necessary tools to heal the tank.
As a healer, you are required to understand both categories because you need to know how to increase your healing capabilities but you also need to know when you are expected to use them.
- Blaze of Glory: roughly every 10 seconds, Baleroc will increase the tank's maximum health by 20% as well as their physical damage taken by 20%. This is a stacking debuff on the tank, which cannot be dispelled and does not have a duration. While the fight is in progress, the debuff persists through death, so that a tank who gets resurrected during combat will not lose their stacks.
- Incendiary Soul: each time Baleroc casts Blaze of Glory, he also applies Incendiary Soul to himself, increasing his own Fire damage done by 20%. It is a stacking buff on the boss.
- Inferno Blade: every 60 seconds, Baleroc will infuse his weapon with Fire for 15 seconds. He no longer performs melee attacks, but instead uses Inferno Strike, causing roughly 75,000 Fire damage. This damage is increased by Incendiary Soul.
- Decimation Blade: every 60 seconds, Baleroc will infuse his weapon with Shadow for 15 seconds. He no longer performs melee attacks, but instead uses Decimating Strike, dealing 90% of the tank's health as Shadow damage. This damage will be at least 190,000, it cannot be resisted or mitigated. While Decimation Blade is active, Baleroc's attack speed is reduced by 50%. In addition to this, Decimating Strike also reduces the healing done by the target by 4%, though this is of little consequence.
- Shards of Torment: roughly every 35 seconds, Baleroc will summon a Shard of Torment in 10-man difficulty and two Shards of Torment in 25-man difficulty; existing Shards despawn about 5 seconds before new Shards are cast. Shards of Torment are stationary and unattackable. They cast Torment on the player nearest to them within 15 yards, which inflicts 3000 Shadow damage per second to them, and stacks each second. The Torment debuff is undispellable and lasts 2 seconds.
- Tormented: a debuff applied to a player whose stacks of Torment wore off. It increases Shadow damage taken by 250% and reduces healing done by 50%, for 40 seconds in 10-man difficulty and 60 seconds in 25-man difficulty.
- Wave of Torment: a raid wide Shadow damage ability caused if no player is within 15 yards of a Shard of Torment. It will essentially wipe your raid.
- Vital Spark: each time a healer heals a raid member affected by Torment, the respective healer will gain a stack of Vital Spark. Healers gain one stack of Vital Spark for every 3 stacks of Torment on their target (so, healing a player with 3 stacks of Torment will grant one stack of Vital Spark, and healing a player with 9 stacks of Torment will grant 3 stacks of Vital Spark). This buff has a 60 second duration, and is refreshed each time a new stack is gained.
- Vital Flame: when a healer with stacks of Vital Spark heals a player affected by Blaze of Glory (so, the tank), their stacks of Vital Spark will be consumed, and turned into Vital Flame. Vital Flame is a buff which lasts for 15 seconds and increases the player's healing done, on targets affected by Blaze of Glory, by 5% for each stack of Vital Spark consumed. When the effect ends, the Vital Spark stacks are restored.
Essentially, for the entire duration of the fight, Baleroc will continuously increase the maximum health and physical damage taken of the tank (through Blaze of Glory), while increasing his own Fire damage done (through Incendiary Soul).
Your raid can opt to use one or two tanks. We will detail both of these possibilities below.
To keep up with the high health pool of the tanks, you, as a healer, will need to stack Vital Spark, by healing players affected by Torment (so, the players standing closest to a Shard of Torment).
You and fellow healers will need to take turns healing players affected with Torment in order to build stacks of Vital Spark, and then switch to healing the tank (thus benefiting from Vital Flame and the increased healing that it provides). The rotation should be such that a healer with higher Vital Spark stacks will always replace a tank healer, so that they can be properly healed through the increasing damage.
Because of the negative effects of Tormented (increased Shadow damage taken and reduced healing done), only the DPS players will be concerned with handling the Shards of Torment. You should never allow yourself to be debuffed with Tormented.
Managing Vital Spark
Because one cannot gain new stacks of Vital Spark while Vital Flame is active (so, for 15 seconds after having healed the tank), healers will need to rotate who is healing the tank and who is building stacks of Vital Spark by healing the DPS. There is no damage to expect on the healers.
Therefore, you will always want to have one (or two, in 25-man) healer on the tank and the rest of the healers on players affected by Torment. The tank healer(s) will have the Vital Flame effect and will be healing the tank, while all the other healers will be building their stacks of Vital Spark.
A tank healer can only keep up with the increasing tank damage for a certain time, as they are not able to gain new stacks Vital Spark while tank healing (because of Vital Flame). At some point, this tank healer will have to be replaced by one of the healers who has, up to this point, been stacking Vital Spark. Ideally, the healer with the highest number of Vital Spark stacks should switch to tank healing.
When this switch happens, the previous tank healer should (once their Vital Flame buff has dropped off) heal players affected by Torment, so that he may gain more stacks of Vital Spark.
You will be required to perform this type of rotation with the other healers for the entire duration of the fight.
Damage to Expect
As already said, you and the other healers will not take damage.
DPS players will only take damage from the Torment debuff. There is no real danger for them if they do not let the debuff stack beyond 9, as there will be healers on them all the time, trying to increase their own stacks of Vital Spark.
Tank damage will be rather easy to heal half of the time. The other half of the time, the tank will be suffering from Baleroc dealing increasing damage with Inferno Strike or Decimating Strike.
Since the damage from Decimating Strike scales with the tank's health, some raids will want to use 2 tanks. One of the tank will shortly tank Baleroc to increase their health just enough to survive Decimating Strike (it still deals a minimum of 190,000 damage). Then the other tank will tank Baleroc for the remaining of the encounter, except for the 15 seconds every minute when Baleroc is performing Decimating Strike instead of regular melee attacks. That will greatly reduced the overall healing needed.
The heroic mode of Baleroc is a true test of your raid's DPS. It is a brutal gear check, during which you will most likely reach the hard enrage timer. However, from a strategy point of view, the fight remains very similar to normal mode and is as close to a "tank and spank" fight as you will find in the Firelands.
Differences from Normal Mode
There are two main differences from normal mode which cause this encounter to have slightly altered strategy and positioning, but in essence, the fight does not change drastically.
- If a player affected by Tormented comes in melee contact with another player, the debuff will spread (with a full duration).
- Baleroc gains a new ability, called Countdown. This links two random (non tank) raid members together, and if after 8 seconds the two players have not come within 4 yards of each other (dispelling the link), they will explode for over 85,000 Fire damage each to everyone within 100 yards, essentially wiping the raid.
In addition to these changes:
- The Tormented debuff now increases shadow damage taken by 500%.
- In 25-man difficulty, a stack of Vital Spark is gained for every 5 stacks of Torment on the target, up from 3 on normal mode.
From a healing perspective, the fight remains largely unchanged. The only healing-specific change to heroic mode is on 25-man difficulty, where one stack of Vital Spark is now gained for each 5 stacks of Torment on the target, as opposed to 3 on normal mode. This will result in a slightly lower stack generation and will, thus, make healing a bit more strenuous.
There are no new sources of damage.
There are a few other concerns you will encounter, however, which are not healing-specific. The first concern is that coming in melee contact with any player affected by the Tormented debuff will spread the debuff to you as well (which is even more disastrous ouch here than on normal mode). In 25-man raids, your raid leader will have assigned a location for players with the Tormented debuff. You should go there while your debuff persists, while making sure you do not come in contact with anyone else. Once the debuff wears out, you can return to your location.
The second concern is regarding the Countdown ability. If this targets you, you will quickly need to move to the Countdown rendez-vous location (decided upon by your raid leader) to get within 4 yards of your Countdown partner. An important note is that if your partner has the Tormented debuff, it is very likely that you will also get it from them (even though it is possible to come within 4 yards and not have it spread to you, although very difficult in practice). Getting Tormented is always preferable to failing Countdown.
Your raid may opt to have some DPS players soak a Shard of Torment all by themselves (25 stacks). If this is the case, they will require heavy healing (which will also grant you many stacks of Vital Spark) and will possibly require you to use some cooldowns on them to help them survive, such as Guardian Spirit or Pain Suppression. Make sure that a cooldown rotation is agreed upon beforehand.
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