So I realized I never updated about downing Heroic Madness of Deathwing. Shame on me, right? Yeah, we killed him the week after finishing Spine. Since then we've gotten 5 kills (did everything on normal the one week due to some misinformation). I've managed to get most of my best in slot gear for both my blood and unholy specs. Never got a normal Gurthalak to drop, but I did manage to snag a heroic one.
But enough about that, I wanted to go over a few things to help my fellow dks out there. I recently read a forum thread on MMO Champ about a paladin tank having issues living through Impale. Now when I say he was having issues, I mean using multiple cool downs (3-4) and still dying to it. This completely dumbfounds me. Why, you ask? Because I solo tank heroic Madness. Now I'll go into the how...
Our platform order is the pretty standard green, red, yellow and then blue order that most guides suggest. The buffs from Kalecgos (Spellweaving and Kalecgos's Presence) have proven to be the most valuable of all the buffs. On the green platform, having Dream is great since it allows me to save my major cool downs for later platforms. So once the fight starts, I open up with disease on the limb and Death Strike as much as possible to build a decent sized Blood Shield. Usually through Runic Empowerment procs, Soulshifter Vortex procs, and Blood Tap, I can end up with 70-100k worth of absorption. I usually try to time a Death Strike right as the timer for the Mutated Corruption hits 2 seconds and then book it to the back of the platform. I open on the Corruption the same on each platform; Dark Command, Dancing Rune Weapon, and pop Fire of the Deep. This is to try to avoid as many attacks as possible leading into the first Impale so I can continue to build up my Blood Shield. So long as the Corruption doesn't use Crush on me, I can usually get up to a max Blood Shield (equal to my max health at the time). When the first Impale goes off, I check if Bone Shield is up (refreshing it if it isn't), use Dream and if my shield was maxed, I take no damage.
Now there will be a second Impale on each platform and obviously, I can't take that one. But we're one tanking it. So what do we do? I'm sure you've read guides that have shadow priests taking them and such. What we do is have all melee, myself included, run out of melee range on the corruption ~4-5 seconds before the next Impale and our hunter runs into melee and pops Deterrence so he doesn't get destroyed by melee attacks. The Corruption will attack whoever is in melee if it's highest threat target is out of range. If no one is in melee range, it starts to cast Impale Aspect. What this does is also forced the Corruption to Impale the hunter now, who uses Feign Death to interrupt the cast and take no damage. Then I taunt while running back in. Timing is key here. Sometimes the timers are a bit off depending on if a Crush is going out. But generally this has worked well for us. Around this time, Deathwing will begin to cast Hemorrhage which brings out the dreaded Regenerative Bloods. I drop Death and Decay on their spawn location to bring them over to me and pop Anti-Magic Shell to prevent too many applications of Degenerative Bite. At this point it's a race to kill the Corruption before the next Impale while trying to kill the bloods before the stacking debuff becomes too much. Once they're all dead, the platform finishes like it does on normal. What I do, is try to maintain my Blood Shield at max by the end. I'll usually time one last Death Strike when the limb is around 4% and immediately start moving to the next platform. Once I get to the yellow platform, which we're just skipping over to get to red, I use Death Strike on that limb once more to keep the shield going. When I get to the red, I open with Death Strike to continue the shield.
For the red platform, the only change is Dream is replaced by Icebound Fortitude. Which means I still take no damage from Impale provided I was able to keep that shield maxed. Everything else is done exactly the same way. I still maintain a max shield going on to the yellow platform as well.
For yellow, I'm without my own major cool down. So we look to one of our discipline priests to put Pain Suppression on me. Again, if I was able to keep my shield maxed and kept Bone Shield up for the Impale, I take no damage from the Impale. This platform goes the same way as the previous two and we move on to the blue platform.
Blue is a bit different due to the Elementium Bolt now hitting the ground which causes Elementium Blast. Also, I could not have maintained a max blood shield going from yellow to blue. So I have to start over again. I also have less time to build that initial shield since the timer for the Corruption begins as soon as you land on the green platform. To combat the possibility that my shield might not be maxed at the start of the Impale cast, I use Raise Dead soon after reaching the Corruption. I still continue to stack my shield as much as possible, and once the Impale cast begins, I use Empower Rune Weapon in an attempt to get a couple more Death Strikes in. Usually this allows me to get close to a max shield before the Impale damage hits. Again, provided Crush didn't hit me right before, which will almost always wipe the majority of my shield away. Icebound Fortitude is used again on this platform and Death Pact is waiting to be used in case I take a ton of damage from some bad RNG. The bloods on this platform are probably the most painful, as I'm forced to use Anti-Magic Shell for the Elementium Blast and not to prevent applications of their debuff. The other change on this platform is that our rogue takes the second Impale instead of our hunter. The reason is our rogue can use Cloak of Shadows to deal with the blast, Evasion so the Corruption doesn't swat him to death, and Vanish to cancel Impale. The rest of the platform goes like the others did.
For the final platform, things get hectic but the buffs all coming back are a godsend. I save Dream for Shrapnel or use it when fighting the Elementium Terrors if I wasn't targeted with Shrapnel. The Terrors are always nerve wracking to tank. I usually wait until I get ~4 stacks of Tetanus and then use Anti-Magic Shell to prevent further applications and make the current duration expire, resetting my stacks. Dream obviously makes this much more bearable. Dancing Rune Weapon and Fire of the Deep are alternated to further help. For the Congealing Bloods, our hunter drops Ice Trap on their spawn location to help slow them. I use Death and Decay and spam Blood Boil as much as I can.
To prevent getting Congealing Bloods while other adds are up, we stop dps before Deathwing hits 15 and 10% and basically power through the 10% bloods and the next ones at 5%. Usually stopping at 17% and 12% allows us to focus on other adds and not worry about Deathwing dipping too low and spawning the bloods early. The Elementium Fragments will likely spawn at the end before finishing him. We just ignore them and kill Deathwing. Same goes with the Terrors. I just grab them so they aren't eating someone's face.
But that's pretty much it. I know that death knights are a bit overpowered for this fight. This fight is one where avoidance isn't a huge factor, but absorption is king. Stacking my shield to max and smart use of cool downs allows me to take no Impale damage for the entire fight.
[22:45:26.791] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko Absorb (209213)
[22:47:54.511] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko Absorb (209213)
[22:50:31.049] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko Absorb (225949)
[22:53:22.543] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko Absorb (209213)
Those numbers seem kinda low in terms of damage, but that's from our first heroic Madness kill. It's possible our pally healer threw Hand of Sacrifice on me just in case. In addition, my healers are pretty awesome and make sure I'm over 90% health, if not at full health, before each Impale hits me.
And to prove I'm not amazing, this is our most recent kill...
[22:59:44.680] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko 166791 (A: 78380)
[23:02:12.875] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko Absorb (196137)
[23:04:50.657] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko 220667 (A: 73538)
[23:07:34.471] Mutated Corruption Impale Schriko 120098 (A: 125073)
Yeah, I failed a bit there.
Anyway, I hope this helps my fellow dks out there. And I'm still confused why a paladin would die from Impale with 3-4 cool downs on them O.o