Firelands 10M Frost DK guide: Baleroc

Baleroc is a pretty cool guy. He dual wields, he uses elemental attacks, and best of all, he is an extremely simple fight for us Frost Death Knights! We love Baleroc.

There is some crazy Healer and Tank details on this fight that we don't need to concern ourselves with, because whatever. Our only job in this fight - other than to DPS our butts off - is to hang out by some crystals that periodically show up on the battlefield. These crystals last for 30 seconds, and will channel a beam at the closest player. That player starts taking Shadow damage every second and gaining stacks of Torment, and each stack of Torment increases Shadow damage taken. What this means it that eventually the damage will get absurdly high and will kill the player, long before the crystal's 30-second duration expires, so another player has to swap in and become the new beam recipient by becoming the new closest player. That way, the new target starts at zero Torment stacks and the damage resets back to a manageable level.

After a player stops receiving Torment stacks, they get a debuff called Tormented, which basically means that they will die if they start getting Torment stacks again before Tormented drops off. Because of this, you will need at least four people who will be soaking, or "tanking" the crystal beams, to allow for enough time for Tormented to fall off.

This crystal soaking "rotation" is absolutely crucial, and as melee DPS with strong defensive cooldowns, we will most likely be one of the soakers. That's our only duty in this fight, though! No piles of adds, no interrupting, no bizarre smacking a giant foot to steer some fat lava guy around. Nice and simple.

This attempt didn't go so well, but you can see what the crystals look like, on the right side.

Your special class/spec responsibilities:
• Soak the crystal damage when it's your turn (and not longer)
• AMS properly to reduce the heavy Shadow damage

The Crystal Dance

Note: Any use of the word "tank" refers to a DPS who is soaking/tanking the crystal damage. Your ACTUAL tanks are doing something off on their own which doesn't involve us at all, so they aren't mentioned or discussed in this guide.

The crystal rotation is very straightforward, but it's crucial to rotate new crystal "tanks" properly. If someone tanks the crystal too long, they will get too many stacks of Torment and will almost assuredly die. This could be because they don't move out at the right time, or the next person wasn't in position to replace them. And if no one is nearby? The crystal just goes "EFF YOU" to the entire raid and hits EVERYONE with Shadow damage. (This is very bad.)

It's also important to try to end up with Torment stacks in a multiple of 3, because Healers gain a special buff per every 3 stacks we get. So aim for 9/12/15/etc. stacks, but if you end up slightly over or under, oh well.

Your rotation plan may vary depending on your raid's preference. Some groups have two groups of two soakers each, while others use a rotating team of four.

With the two group method, Players A and B tank the first crystal, each tanking it for 15 seconds, and then Players C and D tank the second one in the same manner. By the time the third crystal appears, the first team's Tormented debuffs have fallen off and they repeat the process. This is the simplest method, but because of the high Torment stacks, damage will be very intense, in the range of 40-50k damage per second to the current crystal tank.

The other method is slightly more complicated, but there is less damage going out. You still have four soakers, but each crystal is tanked by three players, with each player getting 9-12 stacks. The next crystal is initially tanked by the fourth player, and then the first two players from the first crystal.

Here is a simple example:

Crystal 1: A, B, C
Crystal 2: D, A, B
Crystal 3: C, D, A
Crystal 4: B, C, D (etc.)

The obvious benefit is less Torment stacks per player, meaning less damage. But the tradeoff is that it's a more complicated rotation process, with people having to remember the order and when they need to be the crystal tank, as well as two swaps per crystal instead of one.

Regardless of how your raid splits up the crystal tank duties, it's crucial to pay close attention and swap crystal tanks efficiently. The easiest method is to have the crystal tank literally touching the crystal, with the next crystal tank standing right behind. (The current tank is BETWEEN the crystal and the next tank.) When it's time to swap, the current tank simply runs to the side, far enough that the person behind them is now the closest target.

What you want to avoid (if possible) is having the tank on one side of the crystal, and the next tank on the other side. In the heat of battle, with spell effects and procs all going off at once, it's very easy for the second tank to accidentally get too close and "steal" the crystal beam too early. This can be disastrous!

It's a simple concept, but it's easy (and fatal) to slip up and take the beam too early, or not be close enough and have the beam hit someone else instead of you. Just pay close attention and be very aware of when you need to be tanking the crystal, and if someone is replacing you, plan your exit route in advance so there is no confusion.

The Tormented debuff

The most important thing to know about Tormented is that we really, really cannot tank the crystal while we have this debuff. It will murder us. If your crystal tanks are rotating properly, Tormented will fall off by the time it is your turn to tank the beam again, so it shouldn't ever be a factor.

The debuff also says that contact with allies will spread this debuff to them, but this only applies to allies who do not already have Tormented. If you touch someone else who also has Tormented, nothing bad happens. Not so bad, right?

Right...unless you have Tormented and bump into someone who doesn't have the debuff, because they are about to tank the crystal. This is a disaster! They won't be able to tank the crystal without dying, and the delicate rotation order is thrown entirely out of whack.

So even though it is sometimes safe to be in contact with other players, it's generally safer to just avoid any stacking whatsoever. Play it safe and spread out. There's no environmental hazards or anything, so move precisely and carefully while rotating in and out.

Army of the Dead

Army on pull! There's no reason not to.

Defensive Cooldowns

Anti-Magic Shell is the #1 reason we make AWESOME crystal tanks. Its cooldown is only 45 seconds, which means it is usable every time you tank a crystal beam. It lasts 5 seconds (7 if glyphed, which you should be), and you receive Torment stacks/damage every reduce that damage! Soaking 9 Torment stacks? Use your 7-second AMS at 2-3 stacks. Soaking 15 stacks? Use it at 8-9 stacks, when the damage is really starting to ramp up. Your healers will weep with joy and thank you for it.

Use any other cooldowns (Icebound Fortitude, Stoneform, etc.) while tanking crystal beams as you see fit.

Oh my, Baleroc, what a have.

To rank on this fight as a Frost DK, you'll need to be in the ballpark of 27,000+ DPS. This is as close to a Patchwerk fight as we're likely to get for a while - even with the crystal mechanic, we're not actually stopping DPS on Baleroc or doing anything that hampers our damage, so our numbers should be near optimal on this fight.

Sadly, as easy as this fight is for us, it is Baleroc who gets the last laugh. He drops nothing for us. NOTHING! NOTHING AT ALL! What a dick.

3 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    I love how the Fabulor sass seems to be seeping its way into all your posts. Great write up.

    August 3, 2011 at 11:16 AM

  2. gravatar

    You left out the part to be ready to battle rez your derp tank should they forget CDs when they eat Decimation Blades <.<

    August 3, 2011 at 12:50 PM

  3. gravatar

    TBH, I don't notice you using AMS at all because A) It would appear on my grid but gets covered up by Torment and B) All I see is the pesky mage dying over and over and over.

    August 3, 2011 at 5:34 PM