Feral Druid Mythic Plus - Deep Dive
Part 2 - Getting the most inside the key
In this section we will cover the following …
- Rotational Plays
- Cooldown usage
- 9.2 seasonal affix - Encrypted
- 9.1 seasonal affix - Tormented
- 9.0 seasonal affix - Prideful
This section has been provided with BuffMe’s input (although he blames Shmoo) on the #Feral discord, so any errors please blame him - it is also somewhat volatile so any questions always check in with the Discord.
Generally speaking, depending on your talents, you can follow the below priority per target count.
In terms of maximising what you do pack to pack, when you first open on a pack the main things to keep in mind are as follows …
- have combo points ready from the last pack (where possible)
- have one/two Bloodtalons stack(s) ready from last pack (where possible)
- have Tiger's Fury up from the last pack and off CD (where possible and only when running Predator)
- get Primal Wrath (PW) rolling as quick as possible
- stop applying DoTs when the mobs are about to die (this goes for PW spam at low mob counts and Rake)
This means that if you come from the last pack with no CPs, it is optimal to Stealth, Rake opener, Thrash and then Primal Wrath instantly with the 2 or 3 combo points you get, then carry on with the rest of your rotation.
So, what about Rake - Well Rake in M+ is good, but only if the mob will live for enough of the Rake’s duration to make it worthwhile to spend the energy, so Rake in M+ comes down to two things…
- will the mob live long enough?
- are there 3 or less targets?
- can you really be bothered for the gain over Swipe spam?
Knowing what to cast
I hear a lot of talk about “My Bite does ~15k damage, why is a ~3k PW hit better?", and the answer is DPE vs DPR.
- DPE = Damage Per Execute … aka how much damage you do per button press
- DPR = Damage Per Resource … aka how much damage you get out of the energy you spend
If you go by DPE, then Bite is better up until 9 targets:
But, if you go by DPR, then PW spam takes over at the ~4 target range.
Note that this is dependant on YOUR talent, stats and gear, so you should always check for yourself
Boomkin in M+?
Yup, this is a thing that exists, it’s feelycrafty more than factually mathed and simmed, but my (Fore’s) go-to is the below. The idea is to fish for Starfall, so make sure the pack will last long enough to get the full use of the Starfall AoE. It’s worth knowing that it has a 90% chance to roll on 4+ targets, and is basically worthless when it doesn’t proc Starfall
- 1-12 targets = Feral convoke
- 13+ targets = Consider Boomie convoke (even without HotW)
That said, I do think people undervalue Feral Convoke in AoE, the Bites, Rakes and Moonfires can be powerful on AoE and provide Combo Points for more PWs which you won’t get when Boomievoking - Also in 9.2 with Sickle damage from our 4 piece, you want to make sure you convoke as soon as possible after Berserk to boost up the damage, as it scales with Mastery
Sunfire - So Sunfire is potentially strong in M+, and you can weave it in when low on energy, the biggest problem though is that you are not in cat form and so are locked out of some of your utility and mob control that is arguably more important in a key. Optimal play in M+ does make use of Sunfire, but don’t feel you have to.
One thing to be aware of if you are Sunfire weaving and running Predator, is to pay attention to mob hp to see what is about to proc Tiger’s Fury, as you don’t want multiple free TFs to proc when you’re in Boomieform, as it’s effectively wasted energy.
Generally, more CD usage in M+ is better than optimal CD usage, so you should be looking and planning ahead to squeeze in CD uses, talk to your team, particularly your tank, ask questions like “how long between now and boss X”, to get an idea of when and how you can tweak routes to get more CD uses in play.
With Celestial Spirits this is even more true, as 1 minute CDs are incredibly useful in that they are up every 1 minute (top tier advice here) - use it on CD.
Currently we have two very strong CDs in M+ that can be used for both ST and AoE as well as working well together.
- Berserk - Berserk has undergone some changes since SL that make it pretty big on sustained AoE, it’s no huge AoE burst like some specs have out there but it’s still very solid all rounder.
- Convoke the Spirits - Convoke is huge, it’s a 4s channelled nuke that switches up based on what form you are in. Feral convoke also casts the Lunar Inspiration version of Moonfire, which means it’s AoE potential in Feral form is bigger than some would give it credit for.
With our tier in 9.2 being …
- Heart of the Lion (2-Set) Each combo point spent reduces the cooldown of Incarnation: King of the Jungle or Berserk by 0.5 sec.
- Sickle of the Lion (4-Set) When Berserk ends you lacerate all nearby enemies, dealing (320% of Attack power) Bleed damage over 10 sec.
This means that our Berserk CD drops to around 1:30-2:00 in M+, meaning you want to use Berserk on CD as much as possible, else you’re effectively wasting the 2p bonus, if it’s not on CD then it’s CD can’t be reduced. The 4p effectively turns Berserk into an AoE focused ability, so if a boss is on 10% hp and you’re about to pull a big pack (think 3rd boss in HoA) then it is worth holding Berserk.
That said there are times and routes where CD usage matters, for example if your group is planning around a burst window to burn down a pack or a boss, or a particularly nasty pull that needs to be burned down to be efficient (e.g. SoA double pack mid-way through between 1st and 2nd boss with spear), then you need to hold CDs. Talk to your group and coordinate these types of pulls to make sure you have yours ready.
Also, it can be worth having an addon like OmniCD to track your teams CDs, so you don’t all blow CDs on the same pack, which can lower the individual value of each members CDs.
For more info on Convoke, check out the Beta Convoke Test Data
The Feral rotation changes a little in Berserk …
- Combo Points gain value due to finishers refunding 2 combo points on every use
- Stealth-modified spells also gain value, as Rake and Shred have additional benefits for the duration of Berserk
It’s worth being aware of how to use Berserk in different situations: Note: on 4+ targets, although I’ve listed the options, Swipe spam is by far the simplest and what i would recommend, they are all very close and the point is more to show that you can do whatever you need to proc BT and likely won’t lose much)
Seasonal and affixes on all keys
Tyrannical - Bosses have 30% more health. Bosses and their minions inflict up to 15% increased damage.
Tyrannical weeks are Blizz’s way of telling you to take a week off, a cancerous affix that makes keys unfun to play at a high level, turning boss fights into 3-4 min slogs. That said, as of 9.1 Blizz has been giving very easy affix combinations with Tyr as a way to encourage people to run it.
Fortified - Non-boss enemies have 20% more health and inflict up to 30% increased damage.
Fort is your push week, as bosses die insanely fast and trash being more dangerous is something you can more easily play around. Look for ideal push weeks and get that io.
Spiteful - Fiends rise from the corpses of non-boss enemies and pursue random players.
Spiteful isn’t quite as bad for Ferals as it is for other melees, as we can abuse Balance Affinity to stay away from the ghosts and they also trigger resets from Pred. That said, make sure you get yourself a good WA or Plater import that highlights when one is on you so you can deal with it. They take something like 8% of their health every second, so ~12s to die off without any damage.
You can knock them back with Typhoon and Root them with a PS proc to get it away from you. You can also Bash/Maim them safely with Balance Affinity as a last resort to give you more time to position.
Explosive - While in combat, enemies periodically summon Explosive Orbs that will detonate if not destroyed.
Explosive orbs are in a weird place where they have <200 hp, one auto from anyone in the group will kill them, so simply get a WA/nameplate that tracks them and do your part, it doesn’t act as a DPS loss as you can still spam away with AoE.
Energy specs are the best specs to deal with Explosives due to our 1 second locked Auto-attack timer, which means you can kill an explosive every second.
Raging - Non-boss enemies enrage at 30% health remaining, dealing 100% increased damage until defeated.
So obviously Druid is good for this, and Feral is no different, Soothe the most dangerous mob in the pack and keep soothing things, keep it on CD - your tanks will love you.
Bolstering - When any non-boss enemy dies, its death cry empowers nearby allies, increasing their maximum health and damage by 20%.
Not a huge amount you can do about this, if you want big plays you can Cyclone mobs that you don’t want to get bolstered just before mobs around them die, so they don’t get the bolstering stacks.
Other than that, just make sure mobs die evenly and focus high hp mobs with prio bites or FF.
Inspiring - Some non-boss enemies have an inspiring presence that strengthens their allies.
Typhoon/Bash is insanely good on this week as the inspiring mobs themselves can still be CC’ed interrupted, and as they only have a ~15yd range where their aura applies, you can control the mob out of the group to allow for normal mob control on the rest.
Also, Inspiring is potentially a FF week, to nuke down those targets.
Quaking - Periodically, all players emit a shockwave, inflicting damage and interrupting nearby allies.
Not much you can do here other than get a WA to track when Quaking is “off cd” and be ready to spread - DO NOT cast Convoke when Quaking is off CD, it is a sure-fire way to trigger Quaking and make yourself upset.
Bursting - When slain, non-boss enemies explode, causing all players to suffer damage over 4 sec. This effect stacks.
Bursting isn’t a big deal to Feral, as with Survival Instincts and Barkskin we can mitigate a huge number of stacks, but you should probably watch out for your party as well. This is another one where you want to get a WA to track when stacks are dropping off and how high they are and be ready to stop DPS (or as much as you can as a DoT spec).
Necrotic - All enemies' melee attacks apply a stacking blight that inflicts damage over time and reduces healing received.
Necrotic is all about helping your tank. You should always watch out for your tank and use Roar/Typhoon when they are in danger even if they don’t call for it. It’s good to have chats with your tank before hand if you are in comms to discuss how you want Necro to play out, when they want you to Typhoon etc. Worst case, you can also taunt mobs/bosses to allow for a reset.
Volcanic - While in combat, enemies periodically cause gouts of flame to erupt beneath the feet of distant players.
As a melee, volcanoes shouldn’t really be something you have to deal with, stay in melee range of mobs and watch your feet when there are mobs at range.
Grievous - Injured players suffer increasing damage over time until healed.
Regrowth allows the removal of a Grievous stack, so you can use your Predatory Swiftness procs to instantly heal off a stack from yoruself, or a party member. This is a huge gain to survivability and should be done during times when the healer is struggling or you have spare GCDs from pooling.
Sanguine - When slain, non-boss enemies leave behind a lingering pool of ichor that heals their allies and damages players.
Typhoon is king on Sanguine weeks, the pools stick around for ~20s so it isn’t the end of the world if a mob dies in a bad spot, but you should be looking to Typhoon mobs on CD to push them into a better position.
Storming - While in combat, enemies periodically summon damaging whirlwinds.
Storming is a pain, but again something that Feral can deal with a bit better than other melee due to our high base speed and long claws from Balance Affinity, it’s just one of those affixes you play through and deal with.
Spawns from defeating the Urh Relic.
- Deconstruct - Tankbuster, increases all damage taken by 25% for 5 seconds. Cast on highest threat target.
- Force Slam - An aoe circle around the automaton to move out of, stuns for 1.5 seconds on hit.
Buff on kill = Decrypted Urh Cypher Grants 200% cooldown reduction on all abilities, restores 10% health and mana every second. Lasts 10 seconds.
This is the go-to one to kill in any key, it is easier to deal with and gives 20s CDR to all abilities, which for us, means more Convokes and more Berserks, and more Sickle damage from those Berserks - make sure it does.
Spawns from defeating the Wo Relic.
- Burst - Interruptable 3 second cast that does aoe cosmic damage.
Buff on kill = Decrypted Wo Cypher Grants 150% increased movement speed, 15% damage reduction, and out of combat stealth. Lasts 1 minute.
This one is killed for certain skips, so make sure to ask at the start of the key if there will be any Wo skips in the run for you to be aware of.
Spawns from defeating the Vy Relic.
- Shoot - Shoots a random player in range.
- Fusion Beam - Teleports a short distance and fires a dodgable beam at a player.
Buff on kill = Decrypted Vy Cypher Grants 15% haste and summons an orb of energy that has a chance to proc damage on hit for DPS, or proc a heal for healers. Lasts 45 seconds.
Vy is awful to deal with as a mob and gives basically no specs a gain over Urh, so do your best to not kill this one.
I’d recommend a Weak Aura like this one to ensure you are killing the correct Relic https://wago.io/l1gJSd0yB/5
I’m going to copy/paste a lot of this from Catha’s well written Bear guide, feel free to check that out fully below, though I will be trying to correct some of his rambling grammar.
At different points during the dungeon you can find one of four new Lieutenants. Killing one of these Lieutenant awards you with a choice of three anima powers. You can only choose ONE amongst those three. These powers are fixed per Lieutenants. Which means that you always get the same powers from the same Lieutenant as long as your role (read DPS/Tanks/Healers) remains the same.
Each of these Lieutenants has True Sight, does not give count and does not reset hp when you fail to kill them. The Lieutenants also have no social aggro so you can safely pull them through packs of mobs, without any danger of aggroing something with them.
As of writing, the Lieutenants powers are locked in as follows and all the latest hotfix information can be found here: https://www.wowhead.com/news/patch-9-1-hotfixes-for-the-tormented-mythic-affix-reworked-and-retuned-anima-323174
Soggodon the Breaker
What the Lieutenant does
Inflicts an aura increasing the physical damage you take by 50%.
Will do heavy physical damage the entire time to the tank either via Crush, an ability with a short cast time dealing big damage, or via Seismic Wave, an AoE ability inflicting physical damage to everyone within 60 yards. Do note that you CANNOT kite Soggodon, and if you try, he’ll just grip you back in and cast Crush on you.
Roughly every 30 seconds he’ll grip everyone in melee and start casting Massive Smash for 8 seconds. Everyone will be rooted, and must get out before the end of the cast or they will die. You have two choices here, either everyone in your group has an ability to get out of root (so you can Shift Forms, Shaman can Ghost Wolf, DH can Vengeful Retreat, Pally can Freedom, etc) so they get out on their own, or they cannot in which case you MUST kill the add that roots them in place, in order for them to get out.
As a note, I also want to apologise to my guildy Pasta who I left for dead every single time this was cast on Beta, it sucks to be a Priest this tier.
What power to take
Stone Ward is the go-to choice, increasing your HP is a no-brainer. Leech is good, but healing yourself when you’ve taken damage is worse than not taking the damage in the first place, and Dancing Shoes is a weird one that is only relevant for handling Spites (I do recommend it on Spite week).
What the Lieutenant does
His aura inflicts fire damage to everyone in combat with him. He also casts a debuff named Melt Soul on a random player that increases fire damage taken by 100%. So he basically is Pride 2.0. His other abilities are Scorching Blast, where he casts a circle of fire at the position of a player, there can only be 3 of those active at any given time, so don’t worry too much about running out of space. And Inferno, a cast that you can (and should) interrupt that does fire damage to everyone in the party.
What power to take
This is another interesting Lieutenant for me, Champion’s Brand is the “safe” choice, but Bolstering can be good in keys that have a lot of adds that will die at varying times (like DoS arden wing or SD gauntlet) as well as during Spiteful and Explosive weeks as killing those “mobs” provides a stack of bolstering.Raging Battle-Axe has good uses in places with mobs that have a lot of HP for you to execute on, like in ToP military wing. I’ve seen this average out to ~4.5% damage on a Tyr boss for example.
I like this one as it’s the only real selection that makes you stop and think about how you can use it in the key, more of them should’ve been like this.
What the Lieutenant does
His aura slows you down by 50%. Due to this and his power selection it’s a very likely candidate to be skipped in any dungeon where the final boss does not require heavy movement. He’ll cast a debuff named Biting Cold on a player, do not stand near them as that does damage in an AoE around them. Periodically casts Frost Lance in front of him, dodge it or take massive damage and get knocked away. He’ll cast Cold Snap, an ability that spawns ice orbs around him, just move away from them to avoid taking damage
What power to take
All of these picks have value.
- Handbook of Uncivil Etiquette has value if the key has decent interrupts for you to take advantage of, think keys like Mists last boss, or HoA/SD where the trash has a ton of casts. Remember that this effect isn’t 10% damage globally, it’s just 10% damage on the target you interrupted.
- Regenerative Fungus is a good default pick, as the HPS from it is reasonable substantial
- Vial of Desperation is good for keys where you want an extra passive “oh shit” effect, though with the insane defensive kit Feral has, I’ve never really made much use of it
What the Lieutenant does
His Aura is a -50% to healing done.
Pulling it with other mobs is not recommended because of the aura, though if your group feels up to it, you can drag a few mobs in. Periodically he’ll cast Wave of Terror, which to avoid you must be near another player, otherwise you’ll be feared for 5 seconds.
He’ll also inflicts a heavy bleed on the tank via Sever
Finally he’ll also periodically charge a random player and inflict a bleed on them and anyone standing near them via Carnage. As such avoid standing near other players unless Varruth is casting Wave of Terror, then it’s just a bad situation and be prepared for it with Barkskin or Survival instincts.
What power to take
All three picks have value here as well …
- Volcanic Plumage is a very strong choice, the AoE knockup it does when it procs is very good for just shutting down packs from casting, especially if everyone in the group has it.
- Champion’s Brand is a flat 210 stats, which equates to about ~4% single target gain and larger AoE gain - stats are good
- Dagger of Necrotic Wounding is very strong ST pick, it gives roughly 7-9% ST DPS gain which can be very good on high Tyr keys where you need the extra boss damage
Players overflow with pride as they defeat non-boss enemies, eventually forming a Manifestation of Pride. Defeating this Manifestation greatly empowers players.
With 9.0 over, this is no longer an affix that appears in the game, but leaving this here for historic reasons.
Prideful was the Season 1 of Shadowland’s keystone affix present on all 10+ keys. It boosts your damage by 30% for 1 minute when killed, and while alive does a pulsing AoE that ticks up in damage the longer the mob lives for.
You’ve got two choices when it comes to prides …
- use CDs on the Pride to speed up the kill and ease the healers throughput
- use CDs after the pride to get the most out of the 100% damage boost
This basically comes down to…
- does your healer have the CDs/mana to manage the pride
- do you have a boss or pack you want to nuke that you need the pride to handle
- will killing the pride take more time without CDs than you would save by using them during the buff window
In my M+ groups, we let the healer make the call, in pugs I’d probably make the call based on if the pride is at too many stacks at 50% hp left or if I want to pad …
It’s also worth adding, that you can outright skip the Pride if you move far enough away from it when it’s spawning and use an invis pot, which might be needed for the bleeding edge keys. This is mostly an MDI strat though so it’s not too useful in a normal setting.
To be Continued in Part 3…
- What has changed for Feral with 9.1
- Simming with “Dungeon Slice” for Mythic Plus
- Build changes per key and why
- Dungeon specific tips