Grim Awakening is one of the most challenging raids that Rift has seen in a long time. For the first time in 10-man content, Defiler has become a mandatory part of any raid composition. I know there are a lot of clerics out there who are not very comfortable playing this soul, so I hope this article in combination with my Raiding Defiler Guide will act as useful resources to any finding themselves overwhelmed by what is suddenly being required of them. This article is a lot more in-depth and specific than my basic guide, and is written under the assumption that the reader is already familiar with both the Defiler and the fights in Grim Awakening.
I’m only going to touch on Salvarola and Ultane in this article. While you still want a Defiler on Kaliban, the fight is fairly straightforward and a basic understanding of Defiler is plenty good enough to see you through. I’ve seen some guilds using a Defiler on Kyzan, though it’s not a strategy I would really recommend (I play Inquisitor there and we use a Purifier and Chloromancer to heal). The only situation where I can see a Defiler being useful on Kyzan would be using a pretty handicapped spec with 21 points in Sentinel in order to get an AoE cleanse (54 Defiler/21 Sentinel/1 Inquisitor probably) if you don’t have a cleric tank who is able to pick it up. Defiler is a pretty significant DPS loss for the raid on Kyzan though, because its links are not really needed and you can’t get much out of Pain Transmission with the raid all spread out at range.
Without further ado, here are walkthroughs of Salvarola and Ultane from a Defiler’s perspective:
Phase 1 (100% to 75%): Focus everything on pulling maximum DPS. Open with the focus of applying Tenebrious Distortion debuff from Marrow Harvest instantly, putting your Beacon of Despair down, and getting Pain Transmission in by your 4th GCD (pre-cast BoP -> MH -> Vex -> Beacon -> PT -> SV). This will allow you to get a second Pain Transmission in before the beam. Make sure you and all four of your links are standing in melee range for this phase for maximum PT damage. When a Spark of Thought spawns, Vex it and spread the rest of your DoTs from the boss onto it. If you really want to push maximum DPS, it is possible to stop and cast Pain Transmission when running from the beam. You should be able to pull between 10 and 13k personal DPS on this phase. It is completely safe to leave your Beacon up for the entire fight.
Phase 2 (75 to 50%): This is where the fight gets hard. Do not use Pain Transmission during this phase because it will heal Salvarola. As soon as this phase starts, cast Hideous Reconstruction on both tanks and make sure all your DoTs are up on Salvarola. When the first Warped Fanatic is empowered, the main tank should pull it close to the boss. Use Unholy Nexus to spread DoTs from Salvarola onto the add, and also Vex it. Make sure the add receives Marrow Harvest’s magic debuff! This is probably all the DPS you can guarantee on the empowered add, so you should focus on keeping the tanks up and refreshing your DoTs on Salvarola before the next add. Get mana from the archon before the next add is empowered.
While learning the fight, and depending on how geared the tanks are, you may want to switch to Grief Blight after either the first or the second empowered Warped Fantatic dies. The damage on the tanks ramps up significantly during this phase because the adds keep piling in.
By the time the second add is empowered, you have to make sure both tanks have 3 stacks of Foul Growth (use Explosive Growth if necessary). Remember to spread your DoTs from Salvarola onto the add. During the second empowered add, the Puri/Sent will use Healer’s Covenant on the main tank. You should not use Unstable Transformation or tank cooldowns yet unless absolutely necessary, because you will need everything else for the 3rd empowered add. Spam Explosive Growth and your healing spells to keep the tanks alive. Drink a mana tonic either now or during the 3rd add depending on how things are going.
When the third empowered add spawns, the raid should be ignoring it and burning the boss. You don’t need to spread DoTs onto it, but try to keep as many of your DoTs up as possible on Salvarola. As soon as you pop your FGs on the main tank, use Unstable Transformation on him. Use the duration of Unstable Transformation to rebuild your Foul Growths and burn the boss (keep the offtank alive). After UT wears off and you have popped your FGs again to heal, the main tank will need to pop all of his personal cooldowns (including full heal if he has) in order to stay alive until the phase transition at 50%. Puri and Chloro should use whatever cooldowns they have left at this point as well.
Phase 3 (50% -> 0%): At this point the chloro will be changing over to AoE healing. Depending on how smoothly the transition went, you may need to spend a bit of time catching up on tank healing. You will probably also be low on mana at this point, so use the first 2-3 GCDs at the transition to gain a bit of mana. Switch to Rage Blight if you went to Grief Blight in phase 2. DoT up the add you are assigned to (most likely Lord of Flames) as soon as you can, and spread DoTs to kill any remaining sparks. Use Marrow Harvest to quickly debuff the other add. Use Pain Transmission and then regen some more mana. Keep Hideous Reconstruction on both tanks – this should cover most of the healing during this phase. Cleanse the debuff that gets put on random raid members (the other healers should be able to cover it but be aware that you have to do it if they die). Push out as much DPS as you can, stay alive, kill the boss.
Aim for 10k personal DPS over the course of this fight (peaking around 12-14k in phase 2).
In general, this fight is a lot less strenuous than Salvarola. You should focus nearly all your attention on DPS, healing the tanks once or twice before per tank swap. One tip I would give on this fight in particular is to weave Empowered Affliction and Hideous Reconstruction into your DPS rotation in place of your usual Somatic Desecration filler. Particularly during transition phases when the raid is running around the room dodging bubbles, you don’t want to have 25% reduced health from casting Empowered Affliction repeatedly. If you cast the occasional Empowered Affliction while you’re DPSing Ultane, you’ll enter transition phases with full mana so you can DoT up any remaining Lava Spitters in the room as well as the two Demonic Hellspawn. Hideous Reconstruction is also fantastic in this fight, because you have a lot of time to top off a tank after a tank swap before he needs to take the boss again. HR heals for an absurd amount (~20k+) for a single GCD and won’t consume your Foul Growths, so make liberal use of it during this fight. It’s also great to throw out during transition phases.
The best strategy on this fight is for the tanks to drag Ultane next to Lava Spitters so that you can cleave both at the same time. This is great for you as a Defiler because you can spread DoTs from Ultane onto the cannon, maintain Vex on both, and get some huge Pain Transmission damage (remember to replace your beacon at each cannon for maximum damage).
You should be able to spend pretty much all of this fight in Rage Blight, though you may want to switch to Grief Blight once you are in the final burn stage on the boss (after getting your initial DoTs reapplied) because that’s when a lot of people will start getting hit by waves and it becomes vital to keep everyone in the raid alive (especially the puri and chloro). During this last phase do not be afraid to use Unstable Transformation on a healer because the tanks should not be in danger of dying (use healer cooldowns on healers sub-30%). Keeping your chloro and puri alive is of the utmost importance – if they die you’re going to wipe fast because the raid healing/shielding suddenly disappears.
Summon Beacon of Despair is safe to use on this fight, as it does not take damage from any of the mechanics. Drop it on Ultane whenever he is pulled next to a Lava Spitter and watch the Pain Transmission damage rack up!
You should aim for personal DPS of at least 12k on this fight. DPS will vary a lot depending on how many debuff stacks the adds acquire during transition phases, and how often people make mistakes. If tanks end up with too many additional debuffs from waves/circles, you’ll be burning through mana in order to keep them alive, and your DPS will suffer as a result.