Do I Suck at Healing?

I consider myself a good healer, I’ve been round the block a few times and have healed most things in the game with little difficulty. Sure I know healers that are way better than me regardless of class but in general I feel that I can cope with anything thrown at me.

Sure at the beginning of Cataclysm some of the encounters made us all ask the same question I pose in the title here but like you, I powered through, relearned the old style of healing, adjusted to the changes (/mourn Flash Heal) and even embraced the Atonement playstyle and have gone on to complete all heroic 5 man instances pre nerf and progressed reasonably well. I’m currently at 7/13 in T11 and you may well be further in or even in heroic modes, but I have never really doubted my ability as a healer. But just recently there has been 1 encounter that has frustrated me immensely and caused me to really doubt myself.
The encounter? You may guess. Atramedes? No. Chimaeron? No. Ertan, the Mild Mannered Vizier? Could be! You will probably be surprised to hear that and don’t get me wrong the fight pre-4.0.6 was a ridiculously easy fight and thankfully Blizzard realised this and gave him a well deserved buff and the comment in the patch notes reads:

He now knocks away players standing too close to him when he retracts his Cyclone Shield, which now inflicts Nature damage if it touches players.

Now he did also lose some HP but not a great deal. On our first visit shortly after the patch my guild group got Vortex Pinnacle as our random. We knew the changes but were all in a mix of heroic and raid gear and really expected no issues. We obeyed the changes and ran out all took massive damage from the lightning bolts which I simply couldn’t heal through. My group heals were too weak and my single target heals too slow to get all back up to sufficient health in time for the next phase and after 3 wipes we swapped around and I respecced from Disc to Shadow and Cork went from Balance to his usual Resto and we killed him on the first attempt after the swap. I felt a bit bad about it and just put it down to having a bad day.

A few days ago a similar guild group got Vortex Pinnacle as our random and once again I failed to heal through the damage we wiped a few times and then as we were only after our daily Valor points simply requeued and got Grim Batol and powered through there without any issues. I was now sure that the Vortex Pinnacle thing was my fault and felt pretty bad. To make matters worse, a day later a bunch of alts got the Vortex Pinnacle as the random and the Babaghanoush a Resto shaman (played by Cork) just healed through without any problems.

The strategy we use is:

  • Phase 1 – Aggro Ertan and all hug up;
  • Phase 2 – Move out and stay hugged up when cyclones close in on Ertan;
  • Phase 3 – Move in and hug up on Ertan when cyclones move out;

My spell selection is:

Now the strategy we are using is the one I have read everywhere (post 4.0.6) so now I’m now at the point of not knowing if:

  1. Disc priests just don’t have the HPS throughput to heal through the damage;
  2. If I just have bad spell selection on this fight;
  3. I just got unlucky with people taking way too much damage;
  4. The person behind Cork and Babaghanoush is a vastly superior healer than me and is able to heal through our  flawed strategy
  5. I suck at healing;
Do you have problems healing Ertan? I’d love your feedback on this one, so please leave a comment below.

Posted by Evlyxx


This article has 5 Comments

  1. While I'm not sure if this is your specific issue, I'm not sure about your strategy of "Phase 2 – Move out and stay hugged up when cyclones close in on Ertan".

    According to the information I've been working with, during that phase he summons Lurking Tempests, which will shoot random players unless someone is looking in their direction to make them hide. This is pretty much automatic if you stay grouped up in the middle throughout as you used to do pre-4.0.6 (because some people attack from behind) and when you're spread out around the platform, but might not be true if you're all grouped up standing off from the boss. We usually just all run out behind where we were.

    As I say, I don't know if this is your specific issue because you didn't change the strategy each time, but perhaps you got unlucky with placement when it was your turn.

    As for healing this fight, I don't really recall anything especially difficult. People definitely dip, but nothing I can't heal through. It's been so long since I did this fight I don't have anything specific on spell selection, but once the servers return I'll queue up and have a look at it. Maybe it is just that evil post 4.0.6!

  2. So I ran this instance to have a look, and I have to say if people are taking anything like unhealable damage then I'd look to the fight itself first and try to figure out if you had any additional damage that you shouldn't have had, and what might have changed between attempts.

    For the group I had today I saw 6 ticks of Storm's Edge per phase, which is the damage dealt to you by the Vortices whenever you're outside them (i.e. in Phase 2), each tick is around 10k.
    People dipped to 50% or so as they ran back in, but no one was in particular peril. I covered most of the damage with a round of PW:S on the way in and then a mix of PoH and Binding Heal depending on how even the HP bars looked.

    If you want to have a look, there's a log at

    Now, as for your original question, when it comes to heavy, sustained group-wide damage I would much rather be on my Shaman than my disc Priest, because our direct heals are so slow and PoH does relatively little healing, or so it feels anyway.
    My Shaman, on the other hand, can Chain Heal (same cast time as Heal/GH) and then get the next two Healing Waves (= Heals) off with 30% increase casting speed. That's a nice bit of multi-target burst, right there.

  3. Wow thanks Malevica, I never expected anyone to go to such lengths. Seems I must go and face this boss again. Looking at your spell selection it seems that I may also be under using PW:S.

  4. Below are a few things I try to do when healing this encounter on my disc priest. I hope you find them useful.

    1) Move as little as possible. The more time I spend moving, the less I am able to cast.

    2) Use Borrowed Time from PW:S to speed up my casting of PoH. This is useful because it puts a big shield on the most damaged target while also considerably shortening that long PoH cast. I believe this is also a modest throughput improvement over PoH alone.

    3) Get Smite stacks up in between every raid damage phase. The 15% bonus is nothing to sneeze at, especially when I am casting several PoHs at once.

    4) Remember that PoH will be your primary spell on this fight. Make sure you have PoH glyphed. Because DA auto-procs on PoH, mastery is a very strong stat for this fight. So, if you have multiple pieces of gear that you can swap around, prioritize mastery over haste and (especially) crit.

  5. btw forgot to post back here, seems the issue was simply them blasted lurking tempests. Had a few runs since and spinning myself around a few times per fight seems to have worked wonders.

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