It’s hard to be a kitty druid these days, and it’s also hard to win in Heroic Icecrown. Put the two together and you have the potential for brain-exploding frustration, but also a great deal of fun. My guild’s been storming through heroic ICC 25 of late, and we’ve either downed or put solid work on every boss but Sindragosa and Lich King on heroic difficulty (and the only one that isn’t dead is Putricide). It takes a lot of quick learning to adapt to the new mechanics, and also it takes a whole new level of awareness. Bosses that were previously easy farm material all of a sudden become potentially week-long odysseys in frustration and pain (except Gunship Battle, of course) and there’s almost no boss where you can let your mind slip a bit without suffering devastating consequences. That being said, there are some ways of eliminating a lot of the frustration, and maximizing your performance in 25-man heroics. A lot of these are fight specific, so I’ll go through some tips boss by boss as I’ve experienced them.
Heroic Lord Marrowgar
Swipe is your friend here. When dpsing the boss, and bone spikes go out, it’s most effective just to hit swipe, and throw in a Tiger’s Fury if it is off cooldown during that time. You won’t have to switch targets, and you’ll get to keep all combo points you have on Marrowgar, and swipe hitting on marrow and 3 bone spikes is great damage, and contributes nicely to getting those spikes down quickly. During Bone Storm, it’s great to use feral charge to leap over lines of coldflame to get to a spike that you need to kill.
Heroic Lady Deathwhisper
It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Dodging ghosts is your first priority, above all else during the second phase. During both the first and second phases, I usually find it best to aim to kill Adherants before fanatics, just because it gives the tanks a bit more time to build threat on the fanatics. I’ve also generally found that as melee it’s best to be on adds as close to full-time as you can manage, unless you’re assigned to interrupt the boss (which a cat never should be). This prevents having a huge melee clump around the boss, which is a prime target for ghosts. Being on adds keeps the melee a bit more spread out, and makes it a bit easier to see and avoid ghosts.
Heroic Gunship Battle
Nothing really out of the ordinary here. Have fun and get your free epics.
This is one of the few fights where it’s actually good to tunnel-vision and focus 100% on your rotation. Work as hard as you can to maximize your dps during this fight, because that’s entirely what melee is supposed to do. There is no excuse not to prepot for this encounter. DBM, and I think other encounter mods have an exact timer for when the boss becomes active, so I tend to pop my prepot with about 2 seconds to go on combat. If you don’t have this timer, first of all, get it, and second of all, just try and pop your prepot when saurfang says his last line of the RP (for alliance it’s “hehehe, dwarves”)
Unlike Saurfang, this is a fight where you absolutely cannot tunnel-vision, even though high dps is key here. To help dodge Malleable Goo, it’s good to have your camera positioned almost overhead, as it makes spotting goo puddles a little bit easier. Also, it helps to stay as close as you can to maximum hit box distance, as goo puddles underneath the boss are a lot harder to spot. Save barkskin for each pungent blight.
Nothing really changes for melee on heroic from normal. Dash is good to take the infection/ooze out of the raid, and feral charge is good to get back to the boss afterwards.
Still working on this fight on 25-man myself. Feral charge is usable almost on every cooldown to get to oozes and back to the boss after they go down. Even on normal I’m bouncing around quite a bit with Feral charge.
Again, Feral charge and Dash are your saviors in this fight. Both can save you many stacks of Shadow Prism, and after each Empowered Shock Vortex, you can almost instantly return to Valanar, saving you 3 or more stacks of the debuff.
Heroic Blood Queen
From a dps/melee point there really isn’t any change to what you do normally. One thing that’s good to know is that if you are one of the first two vampires, you should save your firs berserk for when you gain the essence of the blood queen. If you’re not one of the first two, use it as soon as you can, and save the second cooldown for when you’re a vampire. As a druid, it’s good to have a barkskin/tranquility macro ready to use during the second air phase, as that will help the healers out a lot during a very heavy damage burst, even when people are spreading out properly.
Heroic Valithria Dreamwalker
Nothing really different for kitties here from normal. Don’t be afraid to maim Risen Archmages if other people have their interrupts on cooldown. Also, it’s good to run up and start swiping supressors immediately if the come in crowds of 3 or more. Another great place to use Feral Charge and Dash on cooldown.
So that’s it for the bosses I’ve put a lot of time into. You’ve probably noticed a trend in this blog where I mention Feral Charge and Dash a lot. Your mobility talents and abilities are huge in many of these heroic fights, whether by reducing damage you take, or increasing the speed at which you switch targets. Get used to using feral charge early and often, and use dash whenever you have the urgent need to go a larger distance than what feral charge will take you. Dash is awesome, but even when glyphed, the cooldown is long compared to Feral Charge, so be careful when you use it, usually best to save it for when you urgently need to get somewhere on the other side of the room. Beyond this, use barkskin at any time that you are at low health or expect to take a lot of damage (High stacks of debuffs, Marks of the Fallen Champion late in the Saurfang encounter, etc.) The short cooldown means you can use it fairly often, and it should be up whenever you need it. Mobility is great, but survivability is even more important. Make sure you have both mobility and survivability cooldowns available to use when progressing and farming hard-mode bosses. It will increase your numbers, and the healers won’t have to worry about you as much.
Hopefully these tips have come in handy. Happy hunting!