Can’t get enough of Firelands? Well, there might be something wrong with you, but I’m not here to judge. I can, however, help you get your fix. Once more into the orange and red breach this week, with the intention of grinding a second heroic boss into a pile of dust and a few loot-shaped wedges. This one might seem a bit out of order at first, but Majordomo Staghelm is an excellent choice for the next target. Interestingly enough, there is only a single additional mechanic added to this fight when moving to the heroic difficulty – sounds easy, right? Well, actually, yeah, it is. For the most part. But one step at a time.
First off, Staghelm gets a massive boost to his health pool, somewhere around 300% of what he has in normal mode. Since his power increases substantially the longer the fight lasts, this tends to lead to problems right from the start. The single new mechanic, however, is in place for just this reason: every player engaging Staghelm will gain Concentration, represented by a new bar added to the interface. This bar slowly builds over time, offering a 25% boost to damage and healing done per 25 Concentration gained (up to a maximum of 100%). The unfortunate downside: taking any damage at all causes Concentration to instantly reset to zero. Once more into the orange and red breach this week, with the intention of grinding a second heroic boss into a pile of dust and a few loot-shaped wedges. This one might seem a bit out of order at first, but Majordomo Staghelm is an excellent choice for the next target. Interestingly enough, there is only a single additional mechanic added to this fight when moving to the heroic difficulty – sounds easy, right? Well, actually, yeah, it is. For the most part. But one step at a time. As always, all normal-mode mechanics and abilities apply unless otherwise stated.
Due to Staghelm’s massively-augmented health pool, it will be vital in this encounter to keep as many raiders at maximum Concentration for as long as possible (as for the tank, sorry for you, but even with the world’s luckiest string of dodges/parries, it’ll be a miracle if you gain the first 25% for more than a second). The problem here lies in Staghelm’s attacks, namely his Flame Scythe in the scorpion phase. As it is vital to spread the scythe’s damage by allowing most of the raid to be hit by it, this will immediately and constantly ruin Concentration. As such, another balancing act begins. To maintain the buff, some raiders will need to stand outside of the scythe’s reach (behind Staghelm is an excellent spot), which leaves the rest of the group taking additional damage as a result. Healers, your task will be to figure out where the threshold lies, both in the number of players avoiding the attack, and the number of scythes you can handle in each phase. Raid and/or personal cooldowns are all but required here if the group has any hope of staying alive – coordinate them carefully and spread them out as much as possible to minimize incoming damage.
Ideally, a few of the highest DPS raiders (our group used exactly three melee DPS in our 10-man group, for reasons I’ll explain momentarily) will have complete, uninterrupted time to go to town on Staghelm and dent as much of his health pool as possible before the first Shapeshift into his cat form. Although the raid is spread out in this phase, and Staghelm can’t hit multiple raiders with ease, his targeting pattern will be extremely random and entirely directed at ranged classes. The downside – maintaining Concentration on ranged DPS and healers is just a toss of the dice as to where Staghelm decides to leap. The upside – he won’t leap onto the melee DPS, which just gives them more time to grind away with maximum Concentration. Keep the rest of the group spread out, and avoid the flames left behind after each leap. Ideally, try to stand as far away from the raid as possible in order to keep the fires clear for the next phase.
When transitioning back and encountering Searing Seeds, handle them as before by having each raider individually run out of the stacked group to safely detonate the seed. Each explosion will reset Concentration on the afflicted raider (although this isn’t too serious since the group is eating Flame Scythe again anyway). As before, be extremely cautious here when it comes to leaving the group to detonate the seeds, as it’s entirely possible to force an accidental Shapeshift if the raid becomes too spread out.
Healers will need to make another judgment call here as well. With two Shapeshifts (and Staghelm’s Flame Scythe damage boosted as a result), the attack will be hitting significantly harder, possibly even killing a raider instantly, depending on their gear level. If this ends up being a potential danger, it may be necessary to pull one of the scythe-excluded players back into the stack, to spread out the damage further. While this will significantly lower the raid’s damage output, it’s a heck of a lot better than losing a player altogether. Evaluate the damage each time the scorpion phase begins, and adjust positions as necessary – it might take a good deal of practice and experimentation to figure out exactly which thresholds lie where.
The last obstacle, again left over from normal mode, are the Burning Orbs, which stack a building, damaging debuff on the closest person to them. Ideally a pair of raiders should watch each orb, with one stepping in for the other every four stacks. If possible (since the orb placement is random, and a bad set can quickly destroy a solid strategy), it’s even highly recommended to allow the tank to be one of the orb-swapping individuals. Not only will they take less damage due to their role, but they should have numerous cooldowns available to lessen the damage even more. To simplify swapping orbs with minimal movement, simply allow the tank’s partner (although this works for any pair) to do all the moving, stepping into and out of range as necessary. Our group found it easiest to allow healers to handle these orbs, as it allows them to watch themselves and each other in the event that Staghelm decides to leap onto them while juggling the orbs. Just don’t stack too close, lest his leaping attack strike more than one person!
This encounter is part DPS race, part survival contest. Staghelm’s massive health pool will certainly be a problem, and squeezing out as much DPS as possible is the top priority. But a close second goes to staying alive – dead DPS doesn’t contribute much, unfortunately. Just like the normal mode of this fight, the heroic difficulty will require some balancing and experimentation to find just the right thresholds for damage and healing, to allowing maximum Concentration uptime without getting the rest of the raid killed off. Once the numbers are locked in, however, the fight becomes extremely routine, with only the random nature of the orbs throwing a hypothetical wrench into the equation.
It might take a while, but soon enough Heroic Staghelm will be just as simple as his normal counterpart. Which leaves us in need of a new target for next week…