Monday, December 27, 2010

Heroic Halls of Origination: a DPS DK Perspective

Time for another heroic!
Like I said on the last one, I probably won't get through all of the heroics, but I'll review a few of the ones that seem to give people trouble and make some suggestions on optimizing your DK play in heroics while gearing up. If you have a particular instance you want me to review or suggestions, let me know!

With many guilds starting 'regular' raids soon (my guild has downed 5 bosses so far in 10 man, starts 25 man raids this week), I may start reviewing raid bosses as well once I have a feel for them.
Halls of Origination (HOO) is a long and fairly challenging 5-man in sub-359 gear. I think it's a little easier than Grim Batol, but still more difficult than VP (Vortex Pinnacle). It's an Egyptian-themed instance carrying on the desert motif of Uldum. Nice artwork, fun layout. In general, a fun instance, but again, fairly long.

Instead of a separate article for each boss, I'll just put in a few comments for each boss from a DPS DK perspective. In this instance, you can pick the order of most of the bosses, and one boss is optional. I'll also not review the four gatekeepers since they're better referred to as minibosses and essentially have only one elemental attack. I've died on most/all of them at some point, but for the most part just stay out of bad and kill them. I'll focus here on the 'actual' bosses of HOO.

Temple Guardian Anhuur:
This boss unlocks the instance and lets you find Brann. He's a Tol'vir who stands on a platform in the middle of his room. A review of his abilities made me scratch my head (oh, so that's what he does? hmm). Even on heroic, as a dps you just need to stay out of obvious 'bad stuff' when dpsing him and you'll be fine. No mechanics that will wipe you, really. The key to this fight is that after a while he'll put up a Shield of Light which makes him invulnerable. I've usually done this on heroic by having the whole group jump down to the left switch first. As a plate-wearer, I usually Death & Decay and blood boil to keep the switch person from being hit and then start running for the right side switch. Those snakes' damage can add up, so try to stay in line of sight for your healer. Hungering Cold is win here. Other than that, though, no real tricks to it. I burn my cd's right after we interrupt Anhuur's cast, but each phase is fairly short so there's no way to avoid 'wasting' some of your cooldowns.

Earthrager Ptah:
Ptah is the optional boss that's 'outside' in a courtyard. He's a Bone Wraith (looks a lot like Marrowgar) that summons adds. Things that will kill you: inattentiveness. The Earth Spike hits pretty hard on heroic. It won't one-shot you, but if your health is down a bit, it will kill you. As usual with this sort of thing, the spike has a crumbly, dusty spot on the ground shortly before erupting. If you get hit with it, not only will your nether regious hurt like the dickens, you'll be launched in the air and take fall damage upon return to earth. As usual, stay out of bad. To maximize dps, fight from behind the boss but be ready to adjust to either side for spikes. When the adds come, give the tank a moment to collect them, then spread diseases and full aoe rotation. I like to pop my cds here, but you certainly can burn them at the beginning of the fight as well.
After dancing with the roving packs of troggs and killing the elemental mini-bosses, Anraphet comes out and finishes off the troggs. The Big Meanie (aka Titanic Watcher) does two things which can kill you quickly as dps. First, the Alpha Beams. They target a random player, and channel nasty circle of death. Move fast, naturally. The second occurs during his Omega Stance. This aoe can hurt, but I usually use either AMS or IBF to help. A guildie said that moving or jumping helps reduce damage. I can't find anything written about this and can't prove it (comments, anyone?), but I've found myself jumping like a bean during this phase anyway. :) Generally, pop cd's at pull and use them when they're back up. Nothing special, although he hits hard and the aoe can hurt, so try to kill him quickly, save some defensive abilities for Omega Stance, and then try to have some for the last 30 sec when his Alpha Beams start to cover the floor.
Seats of the Keepers:
The next four bosses can be killed in any order.
Isiset is the construct of magic; like all four keepers she is a Titanic Watcher. As with most heroic bosses, there's a lot of aoe that can drop your health so you'll want to keep an eye out, but no big fight mechanics that can one- or two-shot you. Pop cd's at pull. Since you can do this for all four keepers, my current sequence looks like this:
Hit on use str trinket (JC boar figurine for example) while running in. Before you reach her, outbreak your diseases on her. Unholy Frenzy. Even with no preserved runic power, once you Scourge Strike, Festering Strike, SS, FS, you'll have the rp to summon your gargoyle. Use any Sudden Doom procs in between. Blood Tap. SS and FS and now use any remaining rp to try to get Dark Transformation up quickly. I can usually get my transformed ghoul up before UF wears off. Frost can be similar - although wait to use POF at least until the first melee hit so you don't waste it. Then normal priorities from there.
At any rate, when Isiset does her supernova, you can spin around or just step through her - both work fine. When her little starry adds pop out, I usually just pestilence to them, but if your group wants you to, pestilence, then switch to them and kill them, and then back to boss. Sometimes I also put my pet on the adds and stay on the boss myself. For Frost, your HB should do the trick nicely to aoe the adds. We kill the Astral Familiar first, but I don't think it matters much. Overall, a fairly simple fight for DKs.
Ammunae: the construct of life. Pop cds at pull as above. The big key to this fight besides not getting yourself killed, is killing the seedling pods quickly. Just kill them asap. You can pestilence to them, but they tend to die pretty fast, so you can just OB/SS them quickly down, and return in time to keep diseases up on Ammunae. As the pods proliferate, send a pet to kill stray ones as well. As with Isiset, no insta-kill mechanics, just a lot of attrition for your healer to keep up.
Rajh: the construct of radiance. Rajh does a lot of targetting a player or area and attacking. Just like in martial arts, the key is not being there when the attack arrives. Interrupt Summon Sun Orb. With how many interrupts are needed in heroics, endless winter is a nice talent in here. In any case, try to prevent an orb from being summoned, run away otherwise. Save AMS for Blessing of the Sun, while he's aoeing. Even in blues/greens, this barely tickles with AMS up. Obviously, pop cds at pull, avoid bad, win.
Setesh can be a bit of a challenge. Probably the most difficult boss. He's the construct of chaos and he tries to overwhelm you with void Wurms, Void Seekers, and Void Sentinels. As I'm sure you know, Setesh can't be tanked so the tank's job is to tank the Sentinels. Most tanks I've run with can kill the wurms pretty well and need only a little help on Seekers (we usually assign a ranged to this). Your job is to #1: kill Portals! (Yes, Jaraxxus-style) Portals need to die fast. In between, dps the boss. This is a race against time in current gear, with the soft enrage being some time around the 6th portal (tank/healer will be overwhelmed and die).
Ask your team if they have a heroism/bloodlust; if they do, they'll probably use it at pull. If so, use your str or on-use trinkets and summon gargoyle, but don't use unholy frenzy yet. This is becuase you'll waste a lot of the UF effect due to being overcapped for haste. Save the UF until heroism is down and you have a ghoul ready to DT. Obviously, frost can use POF and all cds with heroism.
So there you go! Oveall, less raid-like mechanics in here than in Grim Batol, but still a visually pleasing instance, and some fun fights.


  1. Thanks for the guide! Are you finding Unholy "better" than frost at these early gear levels? I really like frost's play-style so I'll most likely stick with it for now.

  2. At 330-359 gear levels, I'm not sure one is better than the others (except that 2H Frost is probably lower).
    If anything, in heroic 5-mans, frost is probably king with an extremely strong Howling Blast and the tendency of most groups I've been with to largely ignore cc already.
    As MMO-Champ posted from blues, right now it's looking like Unholy is doing better on single target and Frost on aoe. On large scale aoe Unholy is fine with pestilence and DnD (and BB somewhat), but with 3-10ish targets, HB is king.

    Bottom line is, if you prefer Frost, go with it!