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September 18, 2011 / nae1776

Baleroc: Building stacks as Disc

I have to admit that healing gimmick fights are my ego food. I love seeing 200k + heals and the accompanying DA bubbles. Blizz has been very good so far giving the healers a fight once or twice per expansion. So far, however, most have been a little more simple than Baleroc. This post will assume you understand the basic mechanics of the fight and strategy, I will try to give a simple overview of the stacks and some tips on building them.

Vital Spark: the stacking buff you receive by healing the DPS closest to Shard of Torment. Vital Spark increases your healing done on DPS affected by the Torment debuff – which they get by standing close to the shards.

Vital Flame: A non-stacking buff that, simply put, converts your Vital Spark stacks to apply to the tank. Keep in mind that Vital Flame has a timer and you will receive a new stack of the buff once per shard if you continue healing the tank. You cannot build stacks of Vital Spark while Vital Flame is active.

**Note: Atonement will not build stacks. You should spec Strength of Soul/Train of Thought for this encounter**

My raid (25man) uses 2 teams of healers switching between tanks & DPS. In order to ensure all DPS get healers, we assign people to either the melee or ranged shard. It is immensely important to be able to clearly see the Vital Spark & Vital Flame buffs on yourself easily. Be sure to include a display for the number of VS stacks and the time remaining on VF. More on this later.

While healing the DPS, use any haste abilities you have. Power Infusion will help you be able to maintain Flash Heal, bringing the cast time to around our GCD for superfastspamming. Penance should only be used when the DPS first starts taking the shard damage. Why? The DPS gets stacks of Torment. You will get more stacks of Vital Spark relative to their Torment stacks – excluding Penance. No matter how many stacks of Torment the DPS has you will only receive 3 Vital Spark stacks per penance (may be 6, will confirm). Penance takes the amount of stacks you would have gotten from any other spell and gives you 1/3 of those stacks per tick. Since it rounds down, it is only effective to 8 stacks – else you are losing out by using Penance. Also keep in mind that if you have Power Word: Shield glyphed (which you should already) you will also build stacks by bubbling. Indirect healing spells (HoTs, AoE spells) like Renew will benefit from the Vital buffs but will not build them, so do not cast Renew or Prayer of Mending on the DPS while you are building stacks – the point here is to get at least one stack per cast. Try to bubble as you are switching to a tank to squeeze out more stacks.

Tanks will have a debuff that increases both their health and damage taken by the boss. You will be spamming big heals nonstop while on a tank. Keep the tank(s) topped off so that they can survive Decimation Blade, which will hit the tank for 90% of his current health. Both your heals and absorbs will be inflated while healing tanks and you need not worry too much about the 40% of your health DA cap. You can exceed this cap from one heal, but not by stacking DA from multiple heals. Watch your Vital Flame timer; if the tank’s health can wait a global you can pop a PW: Shield on the DPS taking the shard to squeeze in one more stack of Vital Spark. Power Word: Shield is hugely inflated on this fight and therefore immensely helpful on Decimation Blade. Try to keep an eye on Weakened Soul to ensure that it will be off the tank in time, or if you are using 2 tanks keep a bubble on the off tank in preparation.

I love being a troll for this fight. I can use Power Infusion for the first round of healing DPS (we time switching by new shards spawning), Berserking for the second round, and PI is available again by the third. Mana is a huge issue for me on this fight and I have to admit that I can’t bring myself to use Hymn of Hope or Concentration Potions – I feel like the healing needed is too high for me to stop healing and put strain on my healing team. Try to time Shadowfiend with Bloodlust/Heroism, or if not possible, with Berserking if you are a sexy troll like me.

In short:

  • Power Infusion + Flash Heal to build stacks
  • Penance early on the Shard DPS, but only early as you lose stacks after the 8 stack threshold
  • Power Word: Shield is awesome
  • Decimation Blade can be absorbed, and should be absorbed
  • You can surpass the DA cap in a single heal, but not in multiple heals
  • Fast heals for DPS, big heals for tanks
  • Prayer of Mending & Renew do not build stacks – don’t use them on DPS

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