25H Malkorok – Metro’s Healing Guide!

malkorok-01

Welcome to Metro’s 25 man Heroic Healing guides for the Siege of Orgrimmar! It is important to understand that these guides are first aimed at helping healers understand their role, and then helping them maximize their play. Each will feature a general overview of the mechanics that matter to the healers, and conclude with a class-specific discussion. Let’s begin!

Malkorok, when he was still a regular Orc!

Malkorok, when he was still a regular Orc!

Understanding the encounter –

If Iron Juggernaut is the “bread,” and Thok is the “butter,” then this fight is the milk you wash it all down with. These three fights form the pinnacle of 25 man heroic healing in Siege of Orgrimmar, and today we will be discussing just how to handle Malkorok.

There are some major differences between this fight on Normal and Heroic, and they make a HUGE impact on how we heal this fight and how others survive in general. First thing we need to understand is  the Imploding Energy, and its increased damage up from Normal difficulty. You may be thinking it’s common for mechanics to deal more damage, and that this is not important, but I am here to sway you away from this belief. The mechanic IS the Heroic difficulty, and will continue to plague both the healers and the raid itself week after week.

The biggest difference we see with the Imploding Energy is how much of the shield it will remove and relative safety of those looking to soak them. This mechanic goes hand-in-hand with the Ancient Miasma shield you’ll have on everyone for most of the encounter, so it’s important to understand how they interact. Hopefully you mastered it during Normal difficulty; otherwise you’ll be way behind when it comes to the healing section.

Provided you recognize each and every player’s importance to each and every Imploding Energy, we can move on to the Heroic-only mechanics. There are of course two, with the Orb of Corruption being a major concern for the group, and the Living Corruption adds being a minor concern. The Orbs will complicate each Imploding Energy via removal of Ancient Miasma shield, so while it’s the player’s responsibility, it will fall to the healer to rectify it if a mistake has been made.

The Endless Rage phase should be trivial provided your guild understands how to 1 tank it, but make sure you are well versed on both strategy and positioning, as it will make a huge difference between a kill and a wipe.

Mechanically, the fight comes down to handling the Imploding Energies every single time they are out, despite nearly killing a player half the time. BIG DAMAGE YOU SAY? Boom! Time to move on to the healing portion!

Understanding the Healer’s Role –

I alluded to it before, but this fight will be the truest test of one’s ability to properly prepare for and heal an encounter. Thok and Juggernaut test the preparation, but this fight takes it to a whole different level!

Before you even begin considering this fight and how to approach it, you need to be visually aware of the Ancient Barrier on all 25 players. This is more a lesson in addon configuration than healing, but everyone using click-through macro addons like Healbot or Vuhdo should make sure it’s set up so they see exactly how much of a Barrier each player has. This is more vital to the encounter than actually healing or using CDs, as if you don’t know shield status it will be impossible to tell who to heal.

I am stuck in the past using Healbot, but the healers in our raid using Vuhdo claim the 5.4 update automatically places the shield and appropriate colors on the frames when needed. Unfortunately, healbot does not, and just in case you are also having trouble with Vuhdo, let’s discuss how to do this.

On Healbot:

Open Healbot, go to the Cure tab, and then to Custom. In the “New Debuff” field enter these values –
Weak Ancient Barrier – SpellID 142863
Ancient Barrier – SpellID 142864
Strong Ancient Barrier – SpellID 142865

You can enter either the Spell ID OR the Name, but either way, you can then customize the color of the debuff on the bottom of the screen. You also need to give each spell ascending priority as is logical. Make the Weak barrier 1, then regular barrier 2, and finally the Strong barrier 3. This will ensure that the highest barrier is always shown up just in case there is some glitch when transitioning between the levels.

I personally only use the Strong Ancient Barrier, as I feel the lower two levels are irrelevant. In my eyes, it’s either full or its not full, and Strong Ancient Barrier means it is. Any Barrier that isn’t full means the player risks death with each soak, so whats the point of knowing the other strengths?

Look for this screen!

Look for this screen!

On Vuhdo:

I don’t have much experience with the addon, and everyone assures me that it automatically comes loaded this way, but in case it does not, here is the info I have dug up.

Go to the Debuff tab and choose the Custom option. Add the following values –
Weak Ancient Barrier – SpellID 142863
Ancient Barrier – SpellID 142864
Strong Ancient Barrier – SpellID 142865

You can enter either the Spell ID OR the Name (if possible with the addon) and on Vuhdo it should show you the colored icon itself depending on shield correspondence. Once again, simply having the Strong barrier seems enough for me, as it’s either full or the player risks death. What’s the difference!?

malkorok-ancient-barrierability_malkorok_blightofyshaarj_green

ability_malkorok_blightofyshaarj_red

Now that we know how to maximize the shield itself, let’s talk about sources of incoming damage. The regular damage sources from the knock-up and the Miasma continue on heroic, but realize now the danger of the Knock up mechanic, in conjunction with the damage being dealt to each Barrier during soaking.

The truest cause for death here will be the Imploding Energy itself, as the damage it does is ludicrous, and if the player does not have a full shield they will continually get their health whittled away until they outright die from it. It’s on the players to be using personal CDs they have each time, but if they are soaking and chunks of their health disappear each time, your raid simply is not ready for this encounter.

With that being said, understand that the goal is a full barrier on everyone around you all the time, and since everyone is spread out, its best to pick and choose with single target heals. One death early can cause a wipe as the fight goes, as it will mean more mechanics for less people, so it’s of paramount importance to blast people with healing constantly. The more you do the fight with your raid group, the more accustomed you’ll be to who needs healing and where they are in your frames until its eventually old hat to know exactly which 4-5 players to cycle through.

The other mechanic that will trouble you is the Orbs that spawn. They don’t deal damage directly, but if someone runs over them while trying to get to a puddle, they lose their shield and some health and will die to the soak, causing it to explode. There isn’t much to be done about this as a healer, but recognize it is your job to patch the holes when it does occur. The more you do the fight, the more you’ll recognize people who struggle with this mechanic, and the more you’ll be able to help them regain their shield at the right time. Once again, it’s all about minimizing loss, so as long as after each soak you aren’t losing 15-20 percent of people’s health pools (or 100 percent rofl) then you are doing very well.

The adds themselves will naturally attach to the healers due to passive threat, so employ whatever you need to make sure they don’t root you and cause a death. Otherwise, they are of no concern to anyone and should never be more than a nuisance provided the tanks are gathering them.

Everything you have read so far is solely discussing the “main” phase, which is where you will spend a majority of your time on the encounter. The phase will be quite cyclical in nature following this pattern:

[Dodge Arcing Smash if Applicable, Be prepared for Imploding soaks with full shields] x3
Congregate in the safe areas
Spread back to original location – people WILL hit orbs by accident here, be prepared to heal shields before next round.
[Dodge Arcing Smash if Applicable, Be prepared for Imploding soaks with full shields] x3
Congregate in the safe areas
Phase transition.

Described above is a full “set” for this phase, while this set of events will happen twice fully. The first set will be the basis for your chances on the encounter, and if you aren’t surviving soaks or people are getting extremely low, you simply don’t have the item level to complete the encounter’s check. The second set will be 25 percent more deadly because of Relentless Assault, so that should put things in perspective. The second set of mechanics itself will push your raid to the brink no matter what gear you are in, so stay alert and monitor everyone around you for shields constantly. The quicker they get to full, the easier the fight is.

That will be 90 percent of the encounter, but the Blood Rage is still very important, so let’s discuss that separately from the rest.

Blood Rage Phase –

The mechanics here are considerably easier for everyone else, and it’s truly the time to go nuts on DPS and gain anything you may have lost in the rest of the phase. Every 25 man guild should be considering solo-tanking, as it is extremely possible no matter what class. Monks can do it EASILY, but everyone else can do it with help from healers and proper coordination. (To put things in perspective, we had both of our tanks miss one week, and resorted to a raider’s alt Paladin tank of less than 550 ilvl. Long story short, we downed the boss with him alive through each Blood Rage.)

The name of the game here is catch up, so be sure that first priority is big AOE heals. Things like Tranquility and Divine Hymn should be used without question, as there is literally no other time to use them that will be consistent or effective. Be sure to not all use them at once though! Our plan is to use Divine Hymn and Healing Tide immediately in succession, and then save Tranquility for once the Miasma is back out to build shields as soon as possible. I’d recommend the same for anyone else.

Once the actual DPS are healed up, it’s quickly time to focus on the solo-tank. He will be getting massacred every other global, so you need to discuss externals before attempting the encounter. We are lucky enough to have 2 priests and 2 paladin healers, so we have 2 sacs back to back, and then Pain Suppression and angel towards the last few to make sure he survives comfortably. Discuss this with your tank as well, as its crucial to know when he will pop his CDs and around when he expects to need help. Without this discussion, you will have a tank taking 0 damage for 20 seconds, and then be hit for 1million + damage for the last few.

You’ll get more comfortable with this phase as you go, but the rest of the mechanics during it are trivial. Let the debuff explode whenever it needs to, and watch for players designated to soak the balls, as they will need some heals before the barriers return. With that in the onset, it’s mandatory to have everyone at 100 percent health for the second set, otherwise expect deaths.

Potion concerns –

I like to advocate a ZZZ potion on every encounter, but if there was any one that I would suggest sticking with mana potions, this would be the encounter. This is because if you are ever stood still you are either hurting the raid by not soaking, or are risking death. It’s not possible to know where the smash will cover, and if you sit immediately after it goes out, you will recover a second before the soak is needed. This seems alright in text, but it creates confusion for those around you. Let’s say you typically always cover one in a certain area, but because of your potion, the DPS around you went elsewhere and you are left with 1 second to get there, or break the potion short. It’s just too risky IMO, and not worth the extra mana.

A case can be made for usage in the Blood Rage phase, but this is also a high healing phase and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s possible to receive the debuff while drinking, which immediately stands you up. It’s also possible you’ll be sat next to one or two other people with the debuff and risk death or breaking the potion.

It’s ultimately up to you, but I use a Mana potion weekly here, and never seem to have trouble.

Class Specific Tips –

Holy Paladin: Devo Aura can act as another personal, or a raid wide preventative. I use mine on the third soak of each sub set to make sure everyone is near full shield for the run to the safepoints. If you have plenty of externals, consider Unbreakable Spirit instead of Clemency for 60 talents. Allows you to have much more survivability, and also creates potential for 2 bubble-clears. BTW, pop bubble and speed of light to run around and clear out huge chunks of Orbs whenever is needed in main phase. LoH can save someone who hit an orb but still about to soak. BoP, salv, and Freedom to remedy any attached adds on healers.

Resto Shaman: Healing Rain and Chain heal seem godlike, but the melee take no damage, so consider single target healing. Spirit link will even shields as well, so use it if needed to during a safety stack, or put it on the tank for an extra external. Make use of Spirit Walkers grace when your area is covered by the smash.

Resto Druid: Stampeding roar very useful for getting in position. Hots reign supreme, essentially negating the incidental damage. Ironbark unsung external for tank! Tranquility is perfect for a fight like this, use at the right time! Best option is to spread out hots as much as possible and let the others worry about hardcasts. AOE down on melee for maximization.

Holy / Disp Priest: Disp without question most useful healer here, as priest shields are broken before the barrier – potential to have someone stay at full barrier after a soak! Can’t say enough how important that is. Holy Priests are as strong as druids. AOE down on melee, and snipe/hot everyone as much as possible. Angel and Divine Hymn are godlike, use at right time.

Misty Monk: (Do not currently have a monk healer in our progression.) Seems like they would be amazing as well, based on what I remember from Tortos. Double dipping from damage done to adds was ridiculous there, will it work here? Can they stand in melee and not be targeted by the knock up? If so, fistweave full time, spin-to-win when multiple adds are around. Roll to soak, roll back to fistweave.

TLDR Recap

malkorok-02

Spread out, follow directions, and stay sharp!

True test of individual preparation and reaction skills that separates good healers from great ones. Make sure to check out the spell ID section so you have the Barrier status visually on all 25 players. Single Target healing and Hots are the way forward – AOE is too small and imprecise to be effective with everyone spread. Avoid using zzz potion, stick to mana for reasons explained above. Huge heals and externals on solo-tank during Blood Rage.
25 percent more damage second set, be prepared and alert! Ancient Barrier is based on Health pool, which is correlated with ilvl, so make sure your raid is where it needs to be before attempting this encounter! Good luck and I pray your DPS are more capable of soaking than ours!

As always, this guide is from the perspective of a Holy Paladin in 25 man heroic raid leadership perspective. Experience is limited when it comes to priest and monk healers, so if you have input feel free to join the conversation! Otherwise, if you have any questions feel free to ask! Enjoy SoO!

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