Tips & Tricks: T16 Heroic – Restoration Druid – Part I

garrosh varian fightWelcome to my first tips and tricks article for heroic Siege of Orgrimmar!  Remember, these tips and tricks articles are not encounter guides.  Rather, as the name suggests, we offer unique insights on particular fights.  As always, feel free to reply to this article with any comments and questions or shoot us a tweet @Healcraft.

UPDATE:  These tips and tricks were written early in the Siege of Orgrimmar tier.  The tips assume you are at the 3043 haste breakpoint and have a low item level.  With today’s item levels, even for progressing guilds, you’ll likely want to take Soul of the Forest for all encounters regardless of what is mentioned below.

Immerseus

  • Wild Charge – This talent can provide marginal usefulness in the early Split phases.  You can go bear form and stun a DPS add for 4 seconds.  However, if you are assigned to a “far away” part of the room, as you most likely will as a druid, Displacer Beast will generally be better.
  • Soul of the Forest – The best talent for throughput during the “non-split” phase.  Additionally, it can be very useful for healing an add quickly.  Remember that heals that use smart targeting technology will not target the healing adds (mostly, some do), so use your SotF on a rejuvenation on a healing add.
  • Wild Mushroom –  This is an absolute must on this fight.  In general, mushrooms are incredibly powerful and incredibly underused by the average restoration druid.  However, on Immerseus this is especially true.  Your mushroom’s bloom will heal the adds.  This means we want a fully grown mushroom going into every split phase.  As soon as the split phase starts, you want to move quickly to your section of the room, identify where there is a cluster of healing adds, and set up the mushroom where their path will be.  When those clustered adds spawn, throw rejuvenations on all of them as they walk towards the mushroom.  When they hit the mushroom’s range, bloom it, and if any are still not fully healed use genesis to make the rejuvs you put up instantly tick down on them.  You can then follow up on any stray puddles with a Nature’s Swiftness+Healing Touch, Swiftmend+Rejuvenation+Genesis, or Rejuvenation+Regrowth+Genesis combos.
  • Nature’s Vigil – The level 90 talents are not game changing on this encounter.  However, Nature’s Vigil will provide the largest throughput increase.  Try to use it during the non-split phase and pair it with Tranquility (read below).
  • Tranquility – This is best used during the non-split phase when you are in range of everyone.  There is a window of moderate raid damage during almost every non-split phase, where the debuffs are on players, adds are spawned, and he is casting swirl.  This is the perfect time to cast tranquility, just make sure swirl won’t knock you up mid-channel.
  • Symbiosis – Take Leap of Faith from a priest.  This spell has an interesting use on this encounter.  You can cast life grip on a healing puddle to pull it away from the center.  This means you can pretty much ignore one healing add, get all the others topped, then grip the ignored one back, and heal that to full.

Fallen Protectors

  • Level 60 Talents – All three of the talents are viable for this fight, depending on your raid team’s strategy.  However, incarnation seems to be the weakest of the three.  If your raid team is moderately stacked, and does the “all three at once” desperate measures strategy, then Force of Nature will be marginally ahead of Soul of the Forest.  If your raid team is mostly spread, with few melee, and you do desperate measures at different times, then Soul of the Forest will be marginally ahead of Force of Nature.  So, this really comes down to personal preference.  If you do take Soul of the Forest, remember to have one lined up for just before every Calamity cast by Sun.
  • Nature’s Vigil – Like on most encounters, Nature’s Vigil is the best choice.  Use this off CD for the most part, but make sure it is up for desperate measures (especially if you do all three at once).  If you do desperate measures separately, then make sure it is up for Sun’s phase.
  • Wild Mushroom – Mushroom has a number of uses on this fight.  First, remember to bloom your mushroom whenever your legendary cloak activates (this goes for almost every encounter).  Next, remember to bloom under melee when Sun casts Calamity.  Finally, remember to bloom frequently during desperate measures.
  • Tranquility – Try to pair this with Nature’s Vigil.  Just like NV, tranquility is best used during the combined desperate measures phase, or sun’s phase (depending on raid strategy).
  • Symbiosis – You will most likely need to take Deterrence or Ice Block to help soak the Mark of Anguish during He’s desperate measures.  However, if you are not needed, then Spiritwalker’s Grace is a strong choice for this encounter.

Norushen

  • Displacer Beast – Marginally useful here, but better than the other choices.  The blink allows you do completely ignore the cutter beam mechanic.  When it comes to your stack point, blink through it, then restack.
  • Force of Nature – Treants are super powerful on Norushen.  Your raid should be stacked up the entire fight (unless they are going to grab an orb), so FoN is a no brainer.  Make sure you have 1 treant up at almost all times, and feel free to use all your charges if your raid spawns too many large adds at once.
  • Nature’s Vigil – Norushen has constant raid damage, making the short-CD NV an easy winner here.  Use off cooldown and pair it with your other CDs for better throughput.
  • Wild Mushroom – Use this early and often.  You want to keep the efflorescence underneath your raid’s stack point, and bloom it a lot.  This fight has ticking raid damage, so blooming right after a tick of damage (especially at low boss HP and/or when there is a large add alive) will result in a lot of healing.  Of course, always bloom with your cloak proc.
  • Tranquility – There is constant damage on this fight, but the incoming damage is much larger when you have one or more large adds spawned.  Try to use your tranquility early when there is a large add up, so you can have it up again for the sub-50% “healing race.”  Finally, when the cutter beam is out, many other healers cannot heal as much, so it might appear like there is more damage.  Using tranquility during this time might also be helpful.
  • Symbiosis – You always want to take Spiritwalker’s Grace for this fight, so you can tranquility when running around for the beam.  If you never tranquility during the beam, you can take symbiosis on a Death Knight or Monk for more damage reduction.

Sha of Pride

  • Displacer Beast – Again, blink’s utility is hard to pass up.  Displacer makes it easy for you to go grab a rift that is far away.  This allows other classes/specs that do not have “burst movement” to get closer rifts, increasing damage and healing overall.
  • Soul of the Forest – SotF is the clear choice if your raid is spread around the room.  Sha has two major strategies on heroic.  The most common is having the raid spread around the room, having ranged/healers stand near their assigned prison and “rift zone”.  However, some groups do a stack-and-spread strategy.  If you are doing the stack-and-spread, both FoN and SotF are viable, but SotF will probably still be marginally better.  If you are doing the more common spread strategy, you always want to take SotF.
  • Nature’s Vigil – The cooldown on Nature’s Vigil lines up really well for damaging phases of the fight.  If you use the cooldown  right as the first banishment happens, then off CD, you will have it up for every swelling pride in the fight.  Also, the splash heal component of the talent is very useful for swelling pride.
  • Tranquility – Your raid/healing leader will most likely assign your tranquility to a particular swelling pride.  It is hard to recommend which swelling to use the tranquility on, because your raid’s DPS greatly effects how many swellings your raid receives.   Obviously, getting an earlier one means you get more tranquilities in the fight.
  • Symbiosis – Taking spiritwalker’s grace is very good on Sha.  You should use SWG before your tranquility so you can run around under the center of the boss (to hit everyone) and avoid bursting pride/get in projections.

Galakras

  • Displacer Beast – Initiate broken record joke.  However, again, blink is too good to give up.  You can use the blink here to quickly move out of bad stuff, get to a tower (if you’re tower healing), move out of skull cracker, and avoid falling damage when jumping down from a tower.
  • Soul of the Forest – A pretty obvious choice on this fight.  The raid will be mostly spread out for most of the fight, and there is pretty constant raid damage between the adds, fire arrows, and the drakes.  Incarnation is viable here, but will result in much less throughput than Soul of the Forest.  Only take Incarnation if your group is having issues surviving the final (boss down) phase, and it is a healing issue.
  • Level 90 Talents – Both Nature’s Vigil and Heart of the Wild are good choices here, and the decision greatly depends on your assignment.  If you are healing the towers, Heart of the Wild is marginally better.  If you do not go to the towers, Nature’s Vigil is marginally better.  The reasoning is that the tower healer has very little to heal until the boss phase, thus the 6 minute active on HotW is very good for the entire phase.  However, if you are on the ground the entire time, then Nature’s Vigil is better for the constant raid damage.
  • Tranquility – You can get 3+ tranquility on this fight.  The best times are during the mini-boss fights.  When the snake boss gets under 50% she starts doing damage to the raid.  Additionally, the drakes above are starting to get dangerous stacks.  This is a perfect time to use tranquility, especially if you are on a tower team (get it on CD before you leave).  Then, if you use it off CD for the second tranquility, you can get a third tranquility off during the boss phase.  During the boss phase try to time your tranquility for the large pulsing damage she periodically does, not the exploding balls.
  • Symbiosis – Spiritwalker’s grace can be useful for tranquility, so you do not need to interrupt your channel for bad stuff on the ground or being targeted with a Flames of Galakras.  However, another defensive CD from a Death Knight or Monk is also very helpful here.

Thanks for reading Part I of our T16 Heroic Restoration Druid Tips & Tricks!  If you have any comments or questions feel free to comment below or tweet us @Healcraft.  Happy healing!

3 comments

  1. the philosophy on lvl 60 talents seems a bit off to me, it should be more oriented towards the timing of increased damage on the raid (15-20s being SotF, 40-60s being treants, 3min being incarnation), especially since the efflorescence from treants is less than 10% of their total healing, even when stacked and also remember that treants excel in healing the same targets multiple times (like the sniper fixate in naz)

    personally for those 5 fights I’d recommend
    immerseus: sotf
    protectors: incarnation on rook desp measures, but this is a fight where all the choices do so well that it doesn’t really matter
    norushen: sotf or treants
    sha: 2-3 treants to help get people topped off before swelling pride
    galakras: incarnation on pull, during drakefire, a random one later on when it’s off cd, and a final one at some point in the ground phase (also, ice block can be used to drop stacks)

    1. Obviously the level 60 talents are pretty close in most situations, and personal preference comes into play a lot. Additionally, the haste breakpoint you are at also plays a significant role in your talent choice as well. With the 13k BP I would take SotF on pretty much every fight. At 3043, the choice is a bit more open.

      However, I still find it difficult to recommend taking Incarnation this late in the expansion. It’s throughput is just less than the other two choices. So, it primarily serves as a good mana CD during the early tiers of the expansion. Additionally, it has some marginal niche uses on fights where the only real damage is exactly spread 1.5 or 3 minutes apart. However, SotF will still most likely be superior in that situation (especially at the 13k haste beakpoint).

      A few notes about your particular recommendations. I don’t really understand the reasoning for Incarn on Protectors. That fight has fairly consistent damage throughout, and many times there is actually less damage during the desperate measures (depending on strategy) than during the regular phase. Both SotF and FoN will provide more throughput on protectors, the only reason I’d take Incarn is if I was having severe mana issues. On Sha, treants are “ok”, but the consistent throughput increase of SotF will result in more throughput. Additionally, topping people before a Swelling shouldn’t really be left up to treants, as raid CDs should be used at that point. Finally, your choice of talents on Sha greatly depends on your raid’s strategy. For example, my guild is completely spread the entire time around the room, meaning I’m out of range of half the raid most of the time. Due to this, being able to bounce a SotF WG off the melee/tanks to reach everyone in the room is far superior to having treants under me, at the edge of the room, in range of 10 people.

      Galakras is an interesting fight for the talents because there is really almost nothing to heal until the final phase. Correct use of Devo/Rally/Personals and spreading 5 yards during drakefire makes the damage almost nothing. Like I said in the post above, SotF will provide more overall throughput, but if your group is having specific issues surviving certain crucial parts of the fight (Drakefire/Boss Phase), Incarnation might be a good choice.

      Finally, you briefly mention Nazgrim, which will be in my next Tips and Tricks article. That fight is also weird because it can be 1-2 healed on 25m Heroic, and has almost no healing requirement if the raid doesn’t stand in anything or allow Nazgrim to generate too much rage. Due to this, talent choice doesn’t really matter. However, I don’t think “treants on sniper fixates” is a good argument in favor of FoN on Nazgrim, considering I believe most groups just BoP the fixated person and completely bypass any sniper damage.

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