16 June 2010

Solo: Heroic Skadi the Ruthless (UP)

Last night I was doing a random heroic on my alt after the raid with some guildies. One of them asked if the place would be 2-mannable up to the third boss, Skadi the Ruthless, for the mount. I said it should be quite easy to 2-man it and started wondering if I could solo it. So, after the heroic ended, I logged back to my Druid and started flying towards Utgarde Pinnacle.

Preparation and trash
I used my regular tank gear (ilvl 264 & 277 stuff) with the usual buffs, MotW and Thorns, along with the Drums of the Forgotten Kings. I used my Flask of the North for some extra strength. Not so useful, but better than not using it. In addition, I used an Endless Mana Potion, because I had no regular ones on me.

All trash can be skipped with stealth. One time I accidentally ran into a pack of 4 mobs in the second hallway (before the first boss) and that turned out to be quite deadly. The first and second boss can be skipped, just like many pugs do, by simply not engaging / activating them.

The gauntlet
The gauntlet is fairly straightforward in the sense that it most likely won't kill you. However, transitioning from the gauntlet phase to the boss phase can be tricky. The first batch of mobs are all melee mobs that are rather weak and you can charge in and Swipe them to death like you would do on a regular run.

After that it gets a bit more involved: The Harpooners, but mostly the Witch Doctors deal more damage and you'll need to start handling the pairs of adds that run towards you. I opted to pull slowly and to prioritize DPSing the Witch Doctors, then the Harpooners and the Warriors last. My "rotation" on these packs, with 2-3 mobs being up, was to debuff my #1 target with FF, Mangle and Lacerate, then do the same with the #2 target and then just spam Swipe, obviously using (glyphed) Maul every auto-attack.

The Witch Doctors don't move easily, which means you may have to charge them and by doing so aggroing the next pack. This can't really be avoided. Don't hesitate to pop cooldowns, including SI+FR, when needed. Pick up 3 harpoons when you have time.

After the stationary packs have been dealt with, it's time to heal your wounds and wait out your cooldowns. If you DPS the mobs down efficiently, you should regularly have some time to heal yourself. Regrowth followed by Nourish spam until you need to shift back to Bear. Also shoot 2 harpoons at the boss when he's in the right position, that way you only need to shoot one last shot when you decide to transition.

Transition and boss-phase
Once your SI+FR and Berserk are back up and you're at reasonably high health (70% or so), the time has come to push to phase 2. Each pair of gauntlet-adds spawns quite a while before it actually activates and runs towards you. This means that you most likely won't be able to DPS down a pair of adds and shoot the boss down before the next pair spawns (not to mention the timing-luck required to have the boss in the right position when you down the adds). So you should transition with adds up.

Since the Witch Doctors hurt the most and the add-pairs alternate between Witch Doctor/Warrior and Harpooner/Warrior, I opted to only transition the boss when I was fighting Harpooner/Warrior or if I wasn't fighting anything, but Harpooner/Warrior would be the next pair to spawn.

When the time is right, shoot the last harpoon (this takes you out of form FYI), pick up the boss and pop Berserk to get rid of the adds that are still up. At this time you will definitely want to use Barkskin+Enrage to reduce damage intake and you may have to pop SI+FR as well. Once the adds are down, the actual bossfight begins.

There are 3 abilities that the boss uses besides his regular auto-attack. The first is a short stun, that you can't really do much about except soak it. The second is his whirlwind. If you react quickly, you can outrun the boss while he is whirlwinding, especially with Cat Form (with or without Dash). You should only take 1 or 2 hits of the whirlwind. Once you've made some distance, you can cast heals on yourself, while running away. I used Rejuvenation and 3x Lifebloom. After that, the boss is closing in and I would stop to cast as many Nourishes as I could (between 0 and 2 typically) before shifting back.

The final ability and the one that I found to be the most deadly is a Poisoned Spear he throws at you. This leaves a poison DoT that hurts quite a bit. However, since it's a Poison, you can remove it. To do this, I changed my heal-plan to include an Abolish Poison at the last moment before shifting back to Bear. Most of the time, Skadi would use his Poisoned Spear before Abolish would fade and with Abolish Poison ticking every 2 seconds and the DoT every 3, the poison is cleansed before it can tick. For all Poisoned Spears after that, I would just shift out and cast Abolish Poison on myself. The extra damage from taking a hit in casterform is worth not having to take the poison damage and with a bit of luck, Skadi will try to reapply the Poisoned Spear before Abolish runs out, giving you 2 cures with 1 cast.

The main limitation with this tactic will be mana. You will shapeshift often and cast inefficient heals (HoTs are quite bad without spellpower to boost them). Use Innervate as soon as you first run low on mana. Then pop a mana potion the next time you run low and pray that Innervate is back up when you need it. Use Barkskin and Enrage on cooldown to reduce damage intake. Keep Frenzied Regeneration up and pop SI+FR whenever you can, but ideally not during a whirlwind or when a whirlwind is about to start. You don't want to run out of rage and only get reduced benefits from FR. The SI glyph is useful for this fight, as it boosts your SI+FR healing quite a bit. I didn't use it. Swapping to a healer weapon during whirlwinds to boost your healing is another great idea that I came up with only after the kill.

On my kill, after 3 failed attempts, I went down to 10% when the boss was at 35% HP while I was waiting for SI+FR and Innervate to come back off cooldown, so it was quite close. However, during the next whirlwind, I could Innervate and spam myself up a bit and when he caught up with me SI+FR was back and I went back up to 75% and the deal was sealed at that point.

Encore: Soloing Oculus heroic
A few weeks back I tried soloing Oculus on heroic mode for no particular reason. Despite the trash dealing mostly magical damage, it was easy to deal with using cooldowns. The first 3 bosses were not so hard, the third boss requires you to kite him around the platform to prevent the frost DoT from stacking.

The last boss turned out to be impossible though. I flew a green drake and had swapped in a few items that had a higher itemlevel than my tank set (Go go ilvl 277 Moonkin-offspec-gear) to maximize my drakes health and damage. The damage from the boss is outhealed by the leech-DoT, but the whelps spawn too quickly and will start to overwhelm. Stacking the DoT to 3 on a whelp and letting it tick is not sufficient to kill most of them (whelps have different levels and their HP scales with level), which means you have to go back to that whelp and spend a global cooldown on it to finish it off. And that takes too much time, because the next wave will be up by then.

Kiting the boss, as was done on solo-kills (and green-only achievement runs) in the past turned out to be unsuccessful as Blizzard apparently hotfixed the encounter at some point to give the whelps infinite range on their spells. Perhaps that with a couple more upgrades (Steelhoof, if you're reading this and I know you do, give me extra DKP for the sake of science!)
I can do enough damage to kill the whelps with one 3-stack of the DoT and I can keep up, I don't know.


  1. Ranna I salute you for the efforts. Despite having far too much time on your hands you are pro.

    Despite that you have already stolen quite enough of my 277 off spec.

    P.s You know I don't believe in all that science mumbo jumbo it's all a big fairy tale.

  2. I'm a feral with very nice 264 DPS gear and medium 264 tank gear -- if I am having trouble killing the gauntlet mobs before the next spawns in tank gear, does it mean my tank gear isn't up to par, or that I should be picking more DPS gear?