I think of Deathbringer Saurfang as the “Bubble boss”. I can’t think of any boss, certainly no others in Icecrown (yes, of course we haven’t seen them all yet) that make you think: Yes. It’s good to be a Priest.
Algalon the Observer made me think “Yes, it’s good to be a Shadow Priest” but Saurfang is weak against all Priests. Discipline most especially.
You’ll reach Deathbringer Saurfang at the very end of the first wing of Icecrown Citadel 10/25 man. Technically the wing is called The Lower Spire but at the moment it doesn’t really matter because it’s the only wing that you can reach anyway. That one wing, with 4 boss encounters, is Icecrown Citadel as far as I am concerned. Just to recap here are the first four bosses summarised below:
The half skeleton:
Looks totally wicked, but he’s actually not very scary or painful at all
The chick with the mana shield:
Requires some coordination between casters and melee and a clear understanding that Hunters fall in the sweet spot between those two things. Go physical DPS! (Go go DoTs too)
The ship battle:
Think pirates with rockets and canons on wings. Don’t worry, this is not a vehicle fight. Props to Blizzard for finally getting it right!
The bubble boss:
Or, if you’re not a Priest, you may think of him as the “Blood boss”. Either works.
Now let’s get to the Bubble boss. If, like us, you make the mistake of doing zero research before attempting the boss fights in ICC, you may read the situation completely wrong and think it’s an endurance fight that requires you to kite/kill his adds and have excellent healers. But don’t be mislead! It’s actually a DPS race. It gets progressively harder to heal, so kill him quick.
Saurfang has quite a few abilities that, handled poorly, cause him to regenerate health. He also has a “rage” bar. We’ll call it blood power. It’s orange in case you were wondering. The key to winning this fight is to avoid, at all costs, doing anything that causes Saurfang to generate blood power. And he generates blood power when his special abilities deal damage to the raid.
The ability that we, as Priests, are particularly interested in is Boiling Blood and, further into the fight, Mark of the Fallen Champion.
- Boiling Blood, Unlimited range, Instant
Boils the blood of an enemy, inflicting 5000 Physical damage every 3 sec for 15 sec.
- Mark of the Fallen Champion, 100 Energy AKA blood power, Unlimited range, 1.5 sec cast
Causes Deathbringer Saurfang’s melee attacks to splash to this target, inflicting 6175 to 6825 additional Physical damage. If the target dies while under this effect Saurfang is healed for 5% of his total health.
Yes, Mark of the Fallen Champion is a doozy. But it also can’t be cast until the boss has generated that much blood power. You need to kill Deathbringer Saurfang before your raid has been marked five or more times because around that point your healers will break and someone who is marked will die.
Power Word: Shield absorbs damage before it hurts the target. So if you bubble targets afflicted by Boiling Blood and Mark of the Fallen Champion you can negate a portion of the blood power regeneration. How cool is that?
In our 25 man raid we have a Discipline Priest as part of the healing team so they are assigned to prioritise shielding targets taking damage as often as possible, wherever possible. Their shields are the strongest and strengthened by Discipline talents (and this one) that nearly all other healing or DPS Priests skip.
You probably could, if you loved Holy and didn’t have a full time Discipline Priest, just modify your talents to pick up 3/3 Improved Power Word: Shield for this fight. But you’d probably struggle significantly with the high mana cost as a Holy Priest cannot also talent into Rapture.
In 10 mans you don’t need a Discipline Priest, although, of course, it really really really will help you if one of your 3 healers happens to be a Disc Priest. We dropped down to two healers for 10 man (Lathere, Resto Druid and a Holy Paladin) and I helped them by shielding as Shadow. Us Shadow Priests may be stuck with a 4 second cooldown, non-boosted bubble, but it still works.
I believe a Holy Priest in a 10 man run would also contribute a lot to this fight by reaching for the Power Word: Shield button first to protect players with Boiling Blood and Mark of the Fallen Champion. I know it may seem strange, but if it delays future Marks just a little bit, it’s worth doing.
To help you help your raid I strongly recommend that you set up your preferred raid frames so you can see the Boiling Blood, Mark of the Fallen Champion and Weakened Soul debuffs. They show up on the default Blizzard UI raid frames and you can modify VuhDo, Healbot and Grid by setting up custom debuffs.
ps. I apologise if the links above refer to earlier versions of these Addons. As a VuhDo user I know the guide above refers to a 3.2 version of VuhDo because some of the configuration menus have changed. Here’s where you’ll find the VuhDo settings in the latest version for WoW 3.3: