Brutal(us) Impact

Posted in Feral, Guide, Raiding on May 08, 2008

Sathrovarr’s been vanquished. Kalecgos can fly off and inevitably get possessed again, as those pesky dragons tend to do, and there’s only two trash pulls between the raid and Brutallus. You toasted Illidan—you were prepared. This guy doesn’t have any adds, and he dual wields just like Illybeans. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Wrong. Brutallus effectively makes Illidan look like a flame-spouting Girl Scout and brings back nostalgic memories of the gear test Patchwerk presented in Naxxxramas.

Regardless, you’re optimistic. The raid easily dispatches the token trash pulls and charges into the Den of Iniquity. Suddenly, you’re greeted by exceptionally bad voice acting and a panoramic view of the Dead Scar:

“Hold friends! There is information to be had before this devil meets his fate!”

Madrigosa, the chick blue dragon who you can see taunting Brutallus during “Distraction at the Dead Scar”, bids you sit quietly and wait while she tries to grill the enormous pit lord. The scenic vista seals up with a sheet of impenetrable ice* and you essentially get to watch a psionic death match that sounds like it’s dubbed over by the original American voice actors from DBZ. Despite some cool giant-beam-of-death shit, Madrigosa dies in a dramatic heap, and Brutallus turns his attention to the raid. With a cry of challenge, he tilts his head back and roars, shattering the ice and sending your raid flying. None of us were expecting it the first time, and it’s particularly awesome seeing a bear soaring through the air. The once dynamic Brutallus now sits dormant in the Dead Scar, patiently waiting for your raid to take thirty-five minutes to figure out how they’d like to set up.

That's my bear ass flying off to the right.


So what makes this fight hard? Despite a few movement coordination issues (and they are few) and timing on the part of the tanks, the onus of difficulty lays within the enormous amount of non-stop healing it takes to keep up the tanks, the sheer amount of DPS that needs to get put out before a six minute enrage timer and the threat tanks have to generate to keep up with the balls-out DPS (the latter, of which happened to be a concern of mine). 10.5 million health in six minutes. Yeah, you do the math. Learning the fight is an incredible resource hog; the consumables I, as a tank, use on every attempt/kill are as follows:

  • Flask of Fortification
  • Spicy Crawdad or Fishermen’s Feast
  • Ironshield Potions (usually 3 per attempt)
  • Nightmare Seeds (usually 3 per attempt)
  • Greater Rune of Warding
  • Adamantite Weighstone

Obviously if you’re going to keep up on healing and DPS, you’ll have to use a cornucopia of consumables as well—anything from haste pots to destro pots to super mana pots. Unfortunately, practicing getting to the enrage meant that only the tanks were using consumables just so we could get to that point, with everyone else catching up later. Stressful, to be sure. Brutallus is a fight in which you, as the tank, can do everything perfectly and still get the ever-loving-shit beat out of you. Tank healers have to literally spam heal the current tank with their highest rank heals the entire fight—they don’t even stop to heal themselves (that’s someone else’s job). So how hard does he hit?

HEY VEGETA! WHAT'S HIS POWER LEVEL?

As I mentioned earlier, Brutallus dual wields with an attack speed of 1.2 seconds—and that’s with Improved Thunderclap on him. While it varies, he’ll generally smash with his main hand for about 9k+ and his offhand for 5k+; thus, in about 1.5 seconds, the tank has been immediately hit 14k damage—and it’s constant. On the plus side, he’s incapable of crush damage (which would, ultimately, prove too much to heal through) and has the parry-haste mechanic disabled much like Mother Sharahaz (which allows groups to spread out around the tank to soak up Meteor Slashes; this will be explained later). The deal breaker is his Stomp (not to be confused with our kickass mage, Stomp) ability.

Stomp hits whoever has aggro (hopefully the tank, m I rite?) and immediately halves your armor, simultaneously dealing approximately 20,000 damage. Obviously this transition isn’t quite as spiky with a druid tank (who has over 35k armor to begin with), but is relatively worrisome when you have a warrior. The debuff lasts for ten seconds, during which the tank takes a ridiculous amount of damage and the healers fervently try to make sure that their greater heals don’t all land at the same time. It’s also pertinent to note that the Stomp debuff removes Burns on the tank.

So leik, wut r burns? Burn victims (yeah, I laughed too) have had a “Burn” debuff placed on him or her, which will spread to anyone in the near vicinity if they don’t move to a designated “Burn Area”. The burn lasts for 60 seconds and progressively deals damage over time—the last three ticks deal 3400, 3400 and then 6400 damage to the target. We use two druids standing in the burn area tossing HoTs, and unless they’re already taking damage from Meteor Slashes, this usually keeps the burn victims alive. Once the Burn debuff has dissipated, the burn victim can move back to his or her usual position. Obviously, the tanks don’t go anywhere. It’s important for the casters and healer to set up around the tanks in designated areas, because these “soak groups” will absorb the Meteor Slash damage (about 20,000k fire damage that progressively increases your fire damage taken) and make sure your tank isn’t taking more damage than is absolutely necessary. If you can afford to leave a few casters (who don’t have pushback talents, like elemental shamans) out of these two Meteor Slash groups, go for it—you’ll see a difference in overall DPS. Meteor Slash can stack almost exponentially, if you’d survive it, but anymore than three Meteor Slashes on any particular group, and you’re probably going to die.

The reason Singularity utilizes a Feral Druid/Protection Warrior combo is to maximize the amount of debuffs available without crunching DPS. A DPS warrior won’t need to waste cooldowns on Imp Thunderclap or Demoralizing Shout, both tanks can receive Commanding Shout, the Feral Druid can keep up Feral Faerie Fire, Mangle and can, actually, DPS when not tanking (although it makes me nervous every time I do it). The downside to this combo is that the warriors clearly have more trouble during Stomp periods and, conversely, the druid can’t exactly blow a million cooldowns to stay alive while in bear form (although you can smooth out transitions with a few cooldowns—more on that later).

Runy and Lyc explain it all.

The fight thus goes a little bit like this:

  1. A hunter Misdirect pulls Brutallus to the first tank, in this case, Lycentia. I’m switched out of the MT group and a shaman is pulled in to blow Heroism. Between the Heroism, Windfury, and the MD, aggro is established quickly enough for DPS to go nuts. During this first tanking rotation, I’m busily applying debuffs and doing as much damage as I can with my terrible bear-gear-hit-rating in Cat Form. As a note, we stack shamans and periodically use Heroisms for sustained DPS bursts.
  2. About 30 seconds in, players have already been burned and moved back and forth between the main groups and the burn area, Lycentia has been Stomped once, and he’s about to take a third Meteor Slash. I apply my last debuffs, hit my handy transition macro:

    /use Ironshield Potion
    /use Nightmare Seed
    /cast Barkskin

    which does all of those lovely things in the timespan of one GCD, and shift back into Dire Bear. While all that’s happening, I’m watching my Big Wigs timers for the incoming Meteor Slash, Brutallus’s cast bar for when it actually hits, and counting down my impending Growl on Ventrilo so that the healers can start winding up something huge. Ideally, as soon as the third Meteor Slash lands on Lyc, I’m pulling Brutallus off him.

  3. Approximately 40 seconds in, Brutallus is systematically kicking my ass. Every time I note that Stomp has five seconds left on its cooldown, I call it out on Vent so folks know that I’ll be taking even more damage than usual. This is when I try to pop any cooldowns I have—notably my Badge of Tenacity or Bearwall, if it’s available.

    /raid >>Bearwall activated!<<
    /cast Frenzied Regeneration
    /use Badge of Tenacity

    With five seconds left before the third Meteor Slash, Lycentia starts the same Taunt countdown.

  4. Rinse and repeat. Healers are meanwhile busting their ass to keep everyone alive, and everyone else times cooldowns so that they’re pumping out as much damage as possible. This means that we’ve stacked each group for maximum DPS and all the appropriate debuffs are on Brutallus (Wisdom, Blessing of Light, Seal of the Crusader, Curse of Recklessness, Curse of Elements, et cetera). While I’m in Cat Form, I’m also able to Innervate the priest closest to me (usually Brand) and Battle Rez any retard who happened to die in my vicinity. I just have to make sure that all of that doesn’t interfere with my GCD when I need to be using cooldowns and transitioning for a tanking rotation.
  5. Occasionally, the Stomp cooldowns will run very close to when each tank is supposed to Taunt. It’s extremely un-ideal to Taunt and be immediately Stomped (since that generally guarantees a face full of dirt), so the tanks coordinate to avoid it. How does that work?Let’s say there are 8 seconds until a Stomp on Lycentia. There’s 3 seconds until the third Meteor Slash. If I taunted exactly after the Meteor Slash hit, I’d get a Stomp in the face about 3-4 seconds afterward. Not cool. Instead, I allow the third Meteor Slash to roll on by, wait until the Stomp hits Lycentia, and then INSTANTLY taunt Brutallus off. Doing this means you’re communicating with each other and watching your timers, because if you fuck up, someone’s going to eat an extra Meteor Slash and wipe the raid. Fortunately, Lycentia and I raid in the same room as one another, which eliminates the need to yell over Vent. SYNERGY, BABY.
  6. When Brutallus is at 20%, everyone goes apeshit—cooldowns everywhere, Heroisms for the mages, Sexecutes with Recklessness—the whole shebang. As of yet, we haven’t been able to kill him before he enrages—although last night was supremely close (about five seconds). This is my favorite part.OMG HUGE RED PISSED OFF PIT LORD. It’s like; he knows you were making out with his mom last night and totally wasn’t cool with it.Brutallus flips out and destroys Lycentia through Shield Wall and then switches over to me and one-shots me while I am, of course, in Cat Form trying to eke out as much extra damage as possible. I’m talking hits you for 40k—there’s no avoiding that bullshit. Paladins can try and bubble/BoP as necessary, but if you’re not already at about 1% when this happens, prepare for annihilation.

Then you win. Sometimes. Get phat loots and repeat.

*Except if you mount up immediately after the last trash mob dies and you run directly through it. You’ll fall out the window and end up right in the middle of the Dead Scar as Brutallus and Madrigosa duke it out. You’ll also probably buy it as soon as they finish up, as our raid leader found out. Worth the death, IMO.

12 Comments

  • At 2008.05.08 14:33, Lauchis said:

    Oh interesting that you have WF/Heroism for Lyc to do the initial tanking thing. My guild generally MDs it to a bear (or prot warrior, whoever is tank #1) and everybody else goes balls to the wall. The shaman in the tank group gets switched into melee for heroism and then switched out again. We usually do a bear/prot warrior combo, but have also done a prot warrior/prot warrio combo. Our bear usually tanks first. For some reason, I never thought about ripping tank aggro on the pull and have always gone balls-to-the-wall on DPS. (It’s why Brut is my favourite fight so far, imo!)

    Do your pallies run across the field and taunt/bubble from there? That’s how we buy some time when he enrages. Boss travel time from one end of the battle zone to the other = more dps time before dps gets one shotted.

    • At 2008.05.08 19:22, Runycat said:

      @Lauchis
      The issue was that people, for some reason, couldn’t keep my ass alive (despite the fact that I was still over armor cap and had eight million health) when I was wearing my threat gear. So, when I put on my OMFGDON’TDIE gear, I had very very little HIT/EXP. Essentially, I just got parried or missed every other hit, and couldn’t even land something. When I did hit, it was sweet, but yeah, that was the issue. Since actual warrior set gear has hit/expertise on it, and Lyc has a few pieces I don’t, that, combined with the MD’s, WF and Heroism allows him to generate more immediate TPS–in THAT fight, anyway.

      As for the pally taunt thing, someone was saying you couldn’t do that anymore? Not sure.

      • At 2008.05.08 21:20, Lauchis said:

        @Runycat
        Hrm. Don’t remember what all our bear tank has when he’s tanking Brut (never paid any attention, to be quite honest), but our healers never had a problem keeping him up (it’s usually our warrior tanks that bite it when they get stomped), and the DPS never had a problem with pulling aggro.

        As for the pally taunt thing, iirc, there is (was?) a hack where you could run behind the firewall to taunt and reset him. Our ret pally used to do that, but he doesn’t (or can’t) any more. What I meant by pally taunting (at least, the ones the pallies attempt to do) is to run to the other side of the field and taunt him so he goes to them, and then they bubble (or die) so he heads off back to the raid, but that at least buys us a little more time for some dps. Possibly it doesn’t work and I may not be making sense, but I think the second one does still work. It’s the firewall hack thing that doesn’t.

        • At 2008.05.08 22:02, Runycat said:

          @Lauchis
          We haven’t had issues with people pulling aggro–it was just about generating even more immediate TPS so that we could up the ceiling for the casters who were threat capped. For awhile, our healers were just having trouble keeping EVERYONE up; it’s always a little close for us. Overall, Lyc is usually the one who bites it on a Stomp rather than me (for obvious reasons).

          I was thinking about the fire wall hack. We do have paladins bubble and the BoP casters, etc. but it’s not that much of an issue in terms of damage. Usually Lyc and I bite it, and then he goes down.

          • At 2008.05.11 22:48, Mynd said:

            I’ve gots a few questions for yas, Runycat:

            What exactly is your “OMFGDON’TDIE gear”? I’m assuming it’s not what you’re wearing on your armory page, but there might be something I’m missing in that ensemble… (You also must’ve just logged, because the gear changed when I went to double-check it)

            Secondly, would you say Earthwarden is better than the Anti-Hentai staff from Kara (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=28658) for tanking, or just for cat dps? I’m thinking it’s only better for dps, but I’m not completely up to snuff on the feral side of things.

            • At 2008.05.12 05:00, Runycat said:

              @Mynd
              You’re right–I wasn’t tanking at all last night, so I logged off in my DPS gear. My OMFGDON’TDIE gear is essentially the gear I stack for Brutallus; it has an obscene amount of STA while still attempting to preserve what little dodge I can with Sunwell Radiance. Initially, being able to soak up damage was preferable to chancing dodge, but now that we’ve killed him more than a few times, I may resocket my gear (again) for more AGI. I do, however, have three sets of tanking gear that I regularly mix and match parts from; one is specifically geared toward being a “threat” set. That one maximizes my expertise and +hit without sacrificing too many stats. Then of course, there’s my uber STA set, and then the one where I’ve stacked more dodge. The trick, of course, is still staying at 415 defense and remaining above the armor cap (which is 35,880 for bears).

              Earthwarden is absolutely better for tanking than Terestrian’s Stranglestaff, and I’d argue that you’d never use the latter for tanking ever. Additionally, the Stranglestaff is better for DPS until you can pick up the Pillar of Ferocity (Hyjal), Staff of Primal Fury (ZA) or essentially any of the S3 weapons. If you have a lot of badges however, I highly, highly recommend picking up the Staff of the Forest Lord. It’s the best DPS weapon, for a druid, that you can get before Sunwell.

              • At 2008.05.12 11:51, Mynd said:

                Wow. I’ve always considered myself a packrat with saving pieces for feral dps, moonkin, a tanking set, and my healing set (as well as a few pieces in case I decide to try panzerkin later on). Three tanking sets? Daaaaang. Obviously you have a feral dps set, but how many sets do you really keep around? (Your bank must be absolutely horrid with space issues)

                • At 2008.05.12 12:18, Runycat said:

                  @Mynd
                  Space? HAHAHA. I don’t have any. My bank is absolutely packed with all sorts of old gear I can’t bear (get it?) to get rid of or that I’ve saved in case I need it for some gimmick fight. Of course, there’s also the four hundred and twelve non-combat pets and an entire Brewfest outfit, but that’s neither here nor there. While having three tank sets is generally unnecessary until you get to high end raiding, it really makes a difference and allows you to fully tailor your strengths to each particular encounter. I don’t even have an FR set for Illidan.

                  Generally speaking, I carry three-ish sets on me at all times, and that includes all of my tanking gear and my feral DPS gear. I have a T6 restoration set sitting in the bank (since I did used to raid like that) and a few boomkin pieces, but even though I’ve had the opportunity to pick up T6 boomkin pieces that no one else wanted, I simply didn’t have enough room to do it. Even now, I’m trying to part ways with things I really don’t need or use, or even the old PvP pieces are don’t find myself putting on (i.e. all the old feral arena gear I have since I don’t use it for arena OR PvE anymore).

                  I blame the non-combat pets.

                  • At 2008.05.12 12:19, Runycat said:

                    @Mynd
                    Oh, and depending on whether or not we’re doing Shahraz in BT, I might have my shadow resist gear on me as well. REAL space killer.

                    • At 2008.05.28 09:21, droood said:

                      quote:Space? HAHAHA. I don’t have any. My bank is absolutely packed with all sorts of old gear I can’t bear (get it?) to get rid of or that I’ve saved in case I need it for some gimmick fight. Of course, there’s also the four hundred and twelve non-combat pets and an entire Brewfest outfit, but that’s neither here nor there. While having three tank sets is generally unnecessary until you get to high end raiding, it really makes a difference and allows you to fully tailor your strengths to each particular encounter. I don’t even have an FR set for Illidan.

                      Generally speaking, I carry three-ish sets on me at all times, and that includes all of my tanking gear and my feral DPS gear. I have a T6 restoration set sitting in the bank (since I did used to raid like that) and a few boomkin pieces, but even though I’ve had the opportunity to pick up T6 boomkin pieces that no one else wanted, I simply didn’t have enough room to do it. Even now, I’m trying to part ways with things I really don’t need or use, or even the old PvP pieces are don’t find myself putting on (i.e. all the old feral arena gear I have since I don’t use it for arena OR PvE anymore).

                      reply: HEHE I am always asking druid about his/hers bankspace, if they got no problems, I wouldnt like to start it by recommending them to anybody for any serious raiding or endgame raiding.
                      Hell I always feel happy if I have the default bag all free, so i somehow manage to sort all gear and stuff that it only takes whole bank and 4 bags I have 18,18,20, 20 – and have 16 spaces to put somewhere elixirs, buff consumables, reagents for br and GotW and 1!!!! space for funny thing like pet costume or funny firework, if ppl trade me they always suurprised i give them something for their things, aparently I may have good reputation for being very nice to always giving each something for what they give me:) . Oooooh how kind I am to give them some buff reagents, or last mana pot or 1 charge oil:) I may loot anything already latter in the raid if I spend lot of consumables to have free space for it, and I destroyed literally hundreds of gold of things for have 1 space for some loot:)
                      Even dont remember when last I had some non bop item in bank:) all is stored in 4589 mails bounced by army of alts:) In fact my chars are 1 big logistic imperium of constant flow of goods, reagents, consumables, craft materials and trade goods.
                      its hell to be drood:) but fun same time.

                      • At 2008.09.10 10:05, Kal said:

                        Thanks for the link, runy. And you turned me on to a possible thing I hadn’t thought about – the greater runes of warding. They’re expensive, but they might just be worth it.

                        I’m hoping that pendant of titans and a moonkin will be enough hit to get me by on threat, but yeah – I really wish I had those Thunderheart boots right about now. Giev expertise!

                        • At 2008.09.10 10:31, Runycat said:

                          No problemo.

                          The runes aren’t that awful if you’ve got another alt with blacksmithing/mining. I used to farm mats and then Lycentia would grind them out. Plus, they last for 30 minutes or an hour (I forget, to be perfectly honest). Then the Weighstones, etc.

                          Honestly? Once I had the rest of my set nailed down, I started wearing my Shard of Contempt. It was absolutely necessary when Lycentia was near hit capped, expertise capped, and had WF. Sure, I can Mangle for eleventy billion, but only when it hits. You know how it is. Any extra damage protection you can buy is gold. We also had our warrior tank using a Gift of Arthas and the DPS using Elixir of Demonslaying.

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