Ava did a great post a few weeks back called How To Disco With the Lich King, and it has generated some great feedback and questions on the encounter. I do, want to dive a bit more in depth to the Infest mechanic of the fight and how PW: Shield works at handling it. (Both on Heroic and Normal Mode 10/25).
One very common misconception about Disc Priests and the Lich King encounter is that it is all about Bubble Spam– nothing more, and nothing less. If you have a Disc priest, Infest is irrelevant: just spam and /profit. This couldn’t be further from the truth – the key to this fight is an INTELLIGENT Disc Priest, not just some Bubble Monkey. There is a lot you need to keep track of during this fight all while protecting your raid from Infest: You need to be very aware of your ability and the detriment of “outgearing” Infest. (Yes, I said DETRIMENT). On top of all the other stuff that is going on during this fight you need to remember that the LK Encounter is a 10 minute fight, can your mana pool stand up to 10 minutes of blanketing the raid with a 900 mana per cast Power Word: Shield?
To better understand all of this, first lets go over what Infest actually does…
Infest: Deals X to Y Shadow damage to all enemy players within 50000 yards. In addition, the targets will take increasing Shadow damage per second. This effect is removed when the target has more than 90% health.
Note that it will continue to do damage until you are at 90% HP. What PW: Shielding does is it eats the first hit of Infest and leaves people at (hopefully) greater than 90% HP. Lets take a look at each of the 4 versions of Infest.
Infest is Shadow Damage, so you will have a certain amount of resist from your Shadow Resist buff. (don’t forget to cast it!) The amount that is resisted each time (and by each player) is completely RNG. This and the “range” it hits for is the wild card and can be a bitch. Lets use a very simple example here to explain how using PW: Shield works on mitigating Infest.
Here are the basics of this example:
PW: Shield Value – 8,000
HP of the Player – 30,000
Infest Hits – 10,000
Shadow Damage Resisted – 500
Great! We resisted 500 damage of the Infest, and absorbed 8,000 damage from the shield resulting in 1500 net damage to the player, bringing them to 28,500 HP which is 95% HP. Since we landed at 95% HP we do not have to worry about Infest ticking on the player. Woohoo!
Now, lets kick it up a notch, and take a look at a Heroic 10 example.
PW: Shield Value – 8,000
HP of the Player – 30,000
Infest Hits – 13,000
Shadow Damage Resisted – 1,000
Taking all these mitigations and resists we have the net damage resulting in 4,000 putting the player at 26,000 HP or 87%. Uh oh! Infest ticks! This player will need fast heals to get them back up over 90% pretty quickly or the Infest DOT will kill them in a matter of seconds.
Of course these examples assume a rather low Sheild Amount- for purposes of illustration. My Shields, with 15% buff, and when I have my 4pc equipped, absorb around 12k. Which, as you can see isn’t enough to handle Heroic 25 Infest by itself, you have the Shadow Resist in there as well. (typically somewhere around 1.1-3.8k)The additional shadow resist is VERY important, and (as you can see) is a bit of a wild card. You can see resists from 0 to 3,000. Not only do you have the resists being variable, you also have your spellpower being variable. (ICC Ring Procs, Trinket stacks, Cloak Enchant Procs, forgetting to buff Inner Fire, etc.). Of course the total HP of the target also plays a factor since Lower HP targets are more likely to fall <90% than higher HP targets.
Here are some examples of the RNG aspect of Sheilding with resists and SP Variances.
The Lich King Infest Derevka 1848 (A: 12235, R: 3821)
The Lich King Infest Derevka 3531 (A: 11856, R: 1895)
Raidwide buffs such as Totem of Wrath and Demonic Pact also cause variances in your shield amounts (we could even try to include DA procs from the PW:S Glyph), and when you are trying to mitigate a Heroic 25 Infest for upwards of 19,800 damage: every. bit. helps. The issue with Demo Pact is that you don’t get the buff until it procs, and the first Infest you should be preemptively shielding your raid during Fordring’s RP diatribe. (I start shielding my groups at about 15 seconds until combat). That means, I don’t have the spellpower that Demo Pact provides… which means, the first Infest can get messy. If you are struggling with the first Infest due to variable Spellpower, do what I have been doing pre-pull pop a Wild Magic potion for the 200 SP bonus and spam your assigned groups for Infest shields.
So depending on your gear, raidwide spellpower, and resists you should be able to mitigate most (if not all Infest damage).
With 4-piece and the impending 20% buff (25% and 30%) eventually PW: Shield will outpace Infest, including SP and resist variables. You may already be encountering this on your current attempts on Normal 25, 10, and Heroic 10. At first glance you might say “Great! I don’t have to worry about Infest ticks since everyone will be able to stay at 100%! People will take no damage from infest at all! WOOHOO!!”
This is one of the situations where bigger isn’t always better. Let me say this explicitly: You do not want to have your shields be bigger than the Infest damage. Two things happen as a result of ‘outgearing’ the Infest damage.
1. You don’t get mana back from Rapture if your whole shield isn’t eaten by Infest. PW: Shield isn’t a cheap spell, and when you are casting it on 10-15 people each rotation of Infest, you’ll burn through mana pretty quickly if you aren’t getting your Rapture procs back. (Further the ICD of Rapture triggers upon full absorption, and if you can get 10-15 shields eaten all at the same time, you get 10-15 procs at once… which means you’re getting a LOT of mana back).
2. “A more powerful spell already exists”. I hate seeing those red words across my screen – even if your residual shield is only for 100, you will not be able to reapply a new shield if your SP is lower. This can happen from a Ring Proc on an earlier shield, Lightweave proc, etc… This prevents you from reapplying a shield and protecting that target from the next Infest.
Granted, you could make your whole raid use a /cancelaura macro for PW:S and leech Innervates, but that seems to be a waste.
You want your whole shield eaten by the inital blast from Infest. This also means you might have to downrank your shields… On Heroic LK10 I downrank to Rank 12 to allow for full absorption with my SP/Gear. With the increased ICC buff coming shortly, more and more people will have to downrank soon, otherwise they could bleed out of mana from lack of Rapture restores, or they could run into the overwriting a more powerful spell issue. What rank works for you will vary based on your gear (if you have 4pc) and your spellpower and raid make up… trial and error FTW. Customize your PW: Shield to the Mode/Size of the encounter you are doing, your raid will thank you for it. You want your shield to just cover infest, be completely used up, and remove the RNG aspect. Ideally you want everyone to land at 95-99% HP, so your Glyph of PW:S brings them back to 100% the next go around.
Rapture is your savior on this fight. Putting out that many Shields can be very mana intensive if you aren’t watching your Rapture cooldown. (I track mine using ForteXorcist). You want your Rapture returns to be from your mass bubbling on Infest, NOT from anything else. This means you need to be careful about when you shield a tank or a player who is taking damage. Rapture can only restore mana to you every 12 seconds. So if you need to shield one of the tanks, do so during that 12 second ICD (and be sure the shield will be eaten during those 12 seconds). You don’t want to lose sync of your Infest Rapture mana restore. Also, be wary of shielding high aggro melee players. I’ve found that our Ret Pally and Whirlwinding Arms Warrior tend to pick up aggro on the Ghouls and can take substantial damage, so I try to shield these players at the last moment before Infest. (and often time’s follow it up with a POM to heal up any Infest damage that PW:S didn’t absorb)
For our Heroic LK25 progress we use 2 Disc priests on the raid: Ava and myself. We are on opposite sides of the circle, and are moving quite regularly due to Shadow Traps. We also split the raid in two. (I take 2 groups, Ava takes 2 groups and we both cover the 5th). Protip: be sure your Grid Shows not only Weakened Soul, but also other Priests PW:S. We also communicate on a Vent Bind to each other if one of our ‘assigned’ players is out of range. Given the amount of movement required in Phase 1 of Heroic LK25, we often need to cover each other regularly. You need to work as a team, and communicating is pivotal.
This is not a pure mindless bubble fight, you could try to just spam your Shield button and try to play the hero that way, but but you might as well stick Billie Baddie with his 1337 Gear Score in your raid slot and hope to win. Lich King is a great encounter (even though I’m tired of hearing the RP speech at the end/begining) and more and more guilds are getting the opportunity to go toe to toe with him. I hope these pointers provide some good insight to how Infest works, and more importantly gives the Disco Priests out there some insight they might have overlooked in some of their earlier attempts.