Hagara The Stormbinder Heroic Primer (25 man)
Our strategy for this fight doesn’t seem to be the conventional one some guilds stick to so I will do my best to outline what it is we do and how we go about it. This is probably the easiest or second easiest heroic boss encounter in Dragon Soul and also happens to be immensely druid friendly.
Our Raid Balance:
Tank: One tank of any variety, we used our Feral
Healers: 6-7 (when learning the fight having an extra healer for the lightning phase isn’t a terrible idea but isn’t really required at all); a sample healer balance for 6 healers we might use is 1x druid, 1x paladin, 1x disc priest, 2x shaman, 1x holy priest. This isn’t the definitive make-up at all but we generally run a diverse group.
DPS: 16-17 depending on healer make-up
This fight isn’t necessarily damage intensive except for possibly the lightning phase depending on cooldowns available. You will find any, if at all, wipes will be due to execution of the fight mechanics in some form or another. My guide won’t provide flasks of “knowing what to do” to people but if it gives you even a little leg up on the encounter than I’ve done my job!
Phase 1 (non-ice tomb main phase)
Strategy: On the pull the tank will pick up Hagara in the center and the phase continues as a tank and spank roughly. The only ability the tank and healers must be aware of is Furious Attacks. During this ability Hagara will punish the tank fairly heavily though it can be mitigated fairly easily by way of a tank cooldown and, if needed, an additional healing cooldown. This only happens two (maybe 3) times per non-elemental phase.
Raid damage wise you will be dealing with approximately the same abilities as in normal: ice shards that train on specific people and her random target heavy frost damage attack. The trick is that the ice shards leave a debuff that increases damage taken and, if high enough, makes her other spell lethal. Ranged don’t need any specific assignments for this, simply have players utilize player awareness and make an attempt to share all ice shard volleys to ensure melee do not get hit excessively and no ranged player gets their stack above 3 or 4. To do this as a ranged simply step into the beam between the shard’s spawn point and its target and let them hit you. Be advised though that you will want to leave the beam before you get to the maximum number of stacks you can get because it will continue to track you and launch homing shards to your location until the beam snaps back to its intended path.
If someone does mess up and takes far too many stacks of the debuff a heavy personal cooldown can be used temporarily to prevent any risk of a 1-shot. You may also luck out and the person doesn’t get targeted (this happens a lot) as the duration of the debuff is not that long at all.
Healing: As a druid there isn’t anything exceptionally tricky about this phase at all. We’re fairly mobile so we make great ice shard soakers to run out and make sure to grab your requisite stacks, hope out and even hop in again if they’re still up. Keep your tank healing suite up and swiftmend to buffer the tank during Furious Attacks and throw your HoT’s as needed on other ice shard soakers. If you have an omen proc there will often be valid direct heal targets available from her direct frost attack but don’t be surprised if your other healers get them topped off before you can queue something up. This phase is in no way a heal check.
Elemental Phase 2 (same as normal, alternates between Frost and Lightning)
Frost Phase (Hagara’s weapons have a frost style enchant on them signifying that it is the next elemental phase)
Strategy: The frost phase is essentially identical to the normal version except it has one new addition. I cannot confirm the rate (though it seems slow at first and progressively faster as the phase continues) but Hagara will place a debuff on players called Frostflake that slows their movement per second active until they are completely immobilized generally resulting in death from the many kill mechanics active during this part of the fight. It can be dispelled however upon doing so it leaves a large frost trap on the ground that does not go away until all four ice orbs have been killed. As you can imagine if these patches block the running path for your raid there will be some serious problems. Our solution was to have one healer in charge of dispels for frost phase so there was absolutely no confusion. Once afflicted with the debuff the affected player had to duck into the watery bubble in the middle of the room and make sure they were at least 4 or 5 yards in from its edge before calling for a dispel. Once dispelled them quickly ducked back out and joined the group. Players that can remove movement impairing effects such were strongly urged to not use said abilities to prevent any unwanted frost traps.
I have been told some guilds have their healers stand inside the water bubble and heal themselves through it in order to heal the raid as it runs in circles. While this may work for your group and might be ideal for some healing classes, we opted to just have our whole raid run healers included. Druids have no issue with this because, quite honestly, we can do a vast majority of our healing potential while on the run.
Healing: This phase is fairly light on healing as for the most part players are either topped off, dead from the instant kill mechanics, or partially wounded from ducking in the bubble but not in any imminent danger of getting polished off. Occasionally someone might get separated from the pack and a healer might duck back one ice wall to help them out and that’s perfectly reasonable. While running I would rejuv and wild growth as required and swap lifebloom onto each player as they got frostflake. Was this overkill? Possibly. I’d rather throw my spare GCD’s on people as needed to remove any chance someone dips low from drowning. There’s no real “pro tip” for healing this phase as a druid, its 100% execution on the raids part.
Lightning Phase (Hagara’s weapons have a lightning style enchant on them signifying that it is the next elemental phase)
Strategy: Everyone probably does this phase a bit different so I’ll run over how we did it and you can totally take it from there. We looked at the 5 groups of players in our raid and divided them up by orb (each had a raid marker). Five players spanned the gap from the orb to the centermost circle in the room. The healers from group five bridged the gaps between the four lines (in the shape of a + symbol) to make sure the lightning was chained properly. The way this played out was that the initial orb would chain down the first five players and then split three ways and proceed to each other orb all at the same time. On the offchance one chain has an issue and needs to readjust while the other two chains are free to break from their position the initial chain of players will be taking fairly heavy damage from the conducted lightning. During this phase random players will also be targeted with an ability that will place a column of lightning at their position. Simply side step the column and maintain your position in the chain.
Healing: This is the only phase of the fight I would consider difficult healing wise only because it relies heavily on the positioning of your raiders, how fast the add is killed, and whether or not you have any dead players going into the phase which can make it exponentially more difficult. I specifically wanted to watch the initial chain of players as they take the most damage over the course of the phase so I set them as my highest priority. I rolled rejuvenation on all members and through Tree of Life laid down lifebloom as well. Once I was content with my HoT’s just prior to things really starting to get ugly I activated Tranquility /w Harmony active. Lightning phases will occur at such an interval that you can easy use Tree of Life and Tranquility every single time. With everyone spread out so much, Tree/Tranq is exceptionally powerful and a potent raid healing tool that will save lives.
Additional Non-Elemental Phases
Between each elemental phase there is a non-elemental phase identical to the first phase of the fight with one exception. Just as in normal she will place markers on those she is about to Frost Tomb. I believe there are 4 or 5 targets for this who simply run to the very center of the room and stand there. The tank is responsible for pulling away from the pile once formed and allow melee to cleave heavily on all targets available. Pay close attention as a healer to the direction the tank is moving as she will often use Furious Attacks immediately afterwards. If you let the ice tombs block your line of sight you may not be able to heal the tank when he needs it the most.
That’s pretty much the whole fight. You’ll notice there really isn’t a ton of healer or druid specific stuff in here. This is because the fight is honestly that easy. You’ll spend more time wiping to people messing up the frost phase or chaining the electricity in the lightning phase more than likely but I promise you that you will see her dead in a very low number of attempts (at least once people get the tough stuff).
I will have a primer up for Ultraxion and Blackhorn shortly thereafter. Ultraxion is an exceptionally simple fight and has been made MUCH easier with the 5% nerf to his HP and damage.