Healing tips for Conclave of Wind
Conclave of Wind is one of only two encounters in the Throne of the Four Winds raid instance. The fight consists of three bosses, who each have independent health pools and unique abilities. The trick to this fight is managing the damage done on all three platforms, as the bosses must all die within one minute of each other in order to successfully complete the encounter. How you heal will vary greatly depending upon which platform you’re on.
Our raid leader, in a stroke of genius, discovered two very important things. The first was that you can hop around to all of the platforms prior to beginning the encounter without agroing the bosses. Obviously, this allows your raid to set up which members will be working on which bosses – but it also means that you can experience jumping between all the platforms before you ever start combat. I highly recommend doing the same with your raid so that everyone is used to how the slip streams work and where the bosses are. The raid leader’s second discovery was that the bosses names would be much easier to remember if we just gave them new ones that could easily be yelled over vent. And thus, I give you healing strategies for Andy, Ned, and Raymond: The Conclave of Wind.
Each of the three bosses has a raid-wiping spell (Andy has Withering Winds, Ned has Chilling Winds, and Raymond has Deafening Winds) that they will cast if no players are on their platform, so it’s necessary to have at least one person on each of the platforms at all times. Aside from their individual abilities, each boss also has an energy bar that will slowly tick to full as the fight progresses. When they reach 90 energy, all the bosses will simultaneously cast their “ultimate” abilities, which will be discussed in greater detail below. Once a boss “dies,” (technically, goes inactive, as they will activate again and heal to full if you fail to kill the others within a minute), it is no longer necessary to keep a player on that boss’s platform. If, however, the other bosses don’t die and they reactivate, your raid will wipe. There are really no second chances in this encounter.
Ned is on the center, or northern, platform – directly behind Al’Akir. For the majority of the encounter, one tank and one healer will be the only players on this platform. Ned will place a stacking debuff on anyone standing on his platform called Wind Chill. This debuff both deals a small amount of damage and also increases frost damage taken by 10% for each stack, so you will see the damage you and your tank take ramping up as the encounter progresses. Ned will also cast Permafrost at a random target, dealing frost damage in a frontal cone and leaving an ice patch behind on the ground. Get out of the ice patch as quickly as you can; it deals damage and slows you, and if you stand in it for too long you will become “Frozen” and be unable to move at all for several seconds. When I was healing on this platform, I tried to stay relatively close to my tank so that we didn’t have ice patches spawning all over the platform, but not directly on top of him so that we wouldn’t both take damage from Permafrost when it was cast.
Ned’s ultimate is Sleet Storm, which deals a massive amount of frost damage – damage which is divided among all the players on his platform at the time. Two players alone will not be able to survive this, especially two players who’ve been getting a stacking debuff that increases their frost damage taken. When Ned gets ready to cast his ultimate (so at approximately 80 energy), the tank and healer who have been stationed on his platform must quickly jump over to Andy and take over tanking and healing on his platform. At the same time, everyone else in the raid (aside from one healer, who will remain with Raymond to prevent him from wiping the raid) will jump to Ned’s platform so that the damage from Sleet Storm will be split among them. If you are healing on Ned’s platform during Sleet Storm, it’s a great time to pop Tree of Life and possibly Tranquility if the raid is low enough on health. If you do need to use Tranquility, make sure you wait to do it until after Ned finishes casting Sleet Storm – the pushback you’ll get otherwise will really cut into your healing.
Andy is on the platform to your left as you enter the instance, and requires a strong group healer due to the abilities of the adds he will summon. Should you be assigned to heal on Andy’s platform, I found it extremely helpful to stack with the tank (in our raid, the DPS on this platform were all melee so everyone was stacked together and this worked very well). The first spell you’ll see Andy cast is Soothing Breeze, which places a green circle on the ground beneath its target. If you have run through the Vortex Pinnacle 5-man dungeon, you’ll recognize the graphic from the Young Storm Drakes there. Like the spell from Pinnacle, this green circle will heal Andy and any of his adds who are standing in it, but it will also silence anyone standing inside of it. Obviously the tank on this platform will need to move Andy and his adds out of the Soothing Breeze circle as quickly as possible. Stacking together meant that the circle would always be placed directly below us, and the tank was prepared to move when that happened. If you choose to use this strategy, the healer should also anticipate being silenced for a second or two until she can move out of the circle. Being able to predict where Soothing Breeze would drop ended up being extremely helpful for us, since the tank could essentially control where Andy would place it, giving us the flexibility to position ourselves at the edge of his platform when a tank switch was imminent.
Occasionally, you will see Andy begin to cast Nurture, which will spawn several Ravenous Creeper adds whose Toxic Spores ability will place a stacking nature DoT on everyone in range. DPS on the platform should kill them as quickly as possible to prevent the group from getting too many stacks, and the healer on this platform should be prepared for a substantial burst of group damage. In order to survive Andy’s ultimate, which will be cast a short while after the adds spawn, all the Ravenous Creepers must be dead before the Conclave’s energy bar reaches 90.
Andy’s ultimate is Zephyr, which will heal him and any adds remaining on his platform and also increase their damage done by 15% – and this effect stacks. It should now be obvious why the adds must be dead before Andy casts Zephyr. The damage increase also affects Andy, so prepare to be spamming heals on your tank at this point, and make sure the tank is aware that he may need to use a few cooldowns to survive. Even with my tank chaining cooldowns through this phase, I basically never stopped casting heals on him until Zephyr wore off – the damage is that substantial.
Raymond can be found on the platform to your right as your enter the instance, and requires the least healing of all three of the bosses. Apparently, it is possible to down the Conclave without a healer on this platform if you have a DPS class who is capable of strong self-healing (i.e. a warlock or shadow priest), but I can’t directly speak for the merit of this strategy since we had neither of those classes in our raid group. I expect it would work extremely well, though, since the other druid healer in our raid was able to spend a good deal of time just casting balance spells while she was assigned to healing on Raymond’s platform.
Raymond doesn’t require a tank because he only has ranged attacks. He will occasionally cast Slicing Gale at a single target and also create cyclones that will spin around the platform. Avoid the cyclones and heal through the Slicing Gale, and feel free to toss out any damaging spells you can in the meantime – mana should never be a problem if you’re healing here. Raymond will also periodically use his Wind Blast ability, which you will know is coming when he begins to slowly turn. Don’t be in front of him when he stops and uses Wind Blast – it will knock you off the platform. You won’t die, as winds will pick you up and place you back on the platform, but it will mean that you can’t do anything as you’re floating around in midair. More importantly, there will be stretches of time when the Raymond healer is the only person left on the platform. If you get knocked off then, Raymond will cast his Deafaning Winds and effectively wipe the raid.
Raymond’s ultimate ability is Hurricane, which will send everyone on the platform swirling up into the air. The graphic is very similar to Malygos’ Vortex, and works in basically the same way. Everyone caught in Hurricane will take ticks of damage while they’re up in the air, and then fall damage as they come back to the ground. As with the Malygos fight, druid healers are at an advantage here since we can continue to cast our instant spells to heal ourselves and any other players who may be on the platform. Shifting to cat form as you fall back down is always a good option to mitigate some of the fall damage.
If your raid leader assigns you to either Andy’s or Ned’s platforms, made sure you familiarize yourself with the abilities of both bosses since you’ll be hopping back and forth during the fight. If you’re really bad at avoiding things, you probably don’t want to be assigned to Raymond and may want to speak up and let your raid leader know that.
This fight is really much more complicated for your DPS than it should be for your healers; managing things so that the bosses all die within a minute of each other can be really challenging and requires a lot of coordination and communication. Our strategy was to take down Andy and Raymond at the same time, and then have all the DPS head for Ned’s platform to burn him down in a minute. That’s no small task as Ned has the most health of the 3 bosses, so your raid will want to save Heroism/Bloodlust and major cooldowns for that point.
Here’s a fun thing: all of the loot dropped from Conclave of Wind are random enchantment belts and rings. Cross your fingers and hope for the best!