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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Beth'tilac in Firelands. It is mostly targeted to healers who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
The Beth'tilac encounter, within the Firelands, presents healers with a great deal of AoE raid damage during all phases of the encounter. In addition to this, there is a moderate amount of tank damage.
1. Overview of the Fight↑top
Beth'tilac is a fiery spider which uses a variety of adds to attack your raid. The encounter is split into two phases, henceforth referred to as Phase One and Phase Two. The area where you fight Beth'tilac is divided into two levels by a web which forms the ceiling of the room.
During Phase One, the boss will be stationary on top of her web (the "Beth'tilac level"), where a few of your raid members will need to climb up to and deal damage to her. There is constant raid damage on this level, which will require the attention of at least one healer. In the meantime, down below (the "ground level"), the rest of your raid will have to defeat three types of adds: Cinderweb Drones, Cinderweb Spinners and Cinderweb Spiderlings.
After Beth'tilac uses Smoldering Devastation (an ability which will be explained below) three times, she will enter Phase Two, lowering herself to the ground level where your entire raid can engage her. This phase is essentially a burn phase where you raid will have to contend with a soft enrage mechanic.
As with all Firelands encounters, there is a large amount of Fire damage in this fight, so Fire resistance should be provided within your raid.
2. Phase One↑top
Before starting the encounter, you will notice Beth'tilac dangling from a web that acts as a ceiling to the room. Upon attacking her, she will quickly retreat up onto her web, while Cinderweb Spinners will lower themselves to your raid by use of web filaments. In addition to this, your raid will be faced with two other types of adds: Cinderweb Drones and Cinderweb Spiderlings, which enter the fight from the edges of the encounter area, on the ground level.
Your goal during this phase is to send a small contingent of players to damage Beth'tilac atop her web, while the rest of your raid handles the adds.
In order for your raid members to reach Beth'tilac, you will need to make use of the web filaments left behind after Cinderweb Spinners are killed. These can be mounted like any vehicle, and will each transport one player to Beth'tilac's level.
During this phase, healers will be split into two teams, one handling the healing at the ground level, while the other handles the healing on Beth'tilac's level. Your raid leader will provide specific assignments, but you will generally want to have 1 healer on Beth'tilac's level in 10-man difficulty and 2 healers in 25-man difficulty, while the rest of your healers will remain at the ground level.
Ground level healers will remain on the ground for the entire duration of the encounter, while Beth'tilac healers will spend most of the fight on top of the web, with short visits to the ground level.
We have created two categories matching these assignments, including the relevant abilities only for your respective assignment.
2.1. Healing the Ground Level
Healing at the ground level is extremely simple. If you are assigned to this task, then you should only concern yourself with the following things:
The damage from all the abilities listed above, with the exception of Venom Rain, does not come in a predictable fashion, in terms of timing, making this phase rather chaotic from a healing perspective.
Venom Rain (10-man/25-man) is an ability which Beth'tilac uses to damage the raid whenever there is no one on her level. Therefore, you can expect this damage at the start of the encounter, as well as for about 10-20 seconds after each Smoldering Devastation, an ability which forces everyone at Beth'tilac's level to come back down temporarily.
Essentially, you can find a central location and heal your assignment (raid or tank), without having to concern yourself too much with anything else going on in the fight, with the possible exception of having to move out of the Spiderlings' path.
2.2. Healing the Beth'tilac Level
If you are assigned to healing Beth'tilac's level (on top of her web), you will have to spend short amounts of time at ground level, and most of the phase up on the web. While on the ground, you should simply help heal the unavoidable AoE damage from Venom Rain (10-man/25-man) (this damage will continue until at least one player has climbed to the Beth'tilac level, at which point the boss will cease casting this ability).
Shortly after the start of the fight, a few Cinderweb Spinners will have been killed and their web filaments will be available for mounting. Wait for the tank to climb up using his own filament, and follow him quickly (alternatively, you can both climb at almost the same time, but the tank should be quick in taunting the boss). Right clicking the filament will simply transport you up to Beth'tilac's level. You should never climb before the tank, as the boss' melee attacks will kill you.
Once on Beth'tilac's level, you will have to heal the tank damage inflicted by Beth'tilac's melee attacks (she hits for roughly 37,000 damage in both 10 and 25-man difficulty, about once every 2 seconds) as well as raid-wide damage to anyone else on Beth'tilac level (aside from yourself and the tank, there should be up to 2 DPS players in 10-man difficulty and 6 in 25-man difficulty). This raid wide damage is caused by Ember Flare (10-man/25-man).
In addition to this damage, you will also notice several ground effects, indicating locations where meteors will fall. Move away from these locations so as to avoid the damage.
Beth'tilac has an energy bar which depletes slowly. When it reaches 0, she begins an 8 second cast of Smoldering Devastation, an ability which will kill anyone still on her level. When this cast begins, you need to jump down from the web through a hole located in the center, which will bring you back down to the ground level.
After doing this, you will find yourself once again at the ground level. Simply repeat the same cycle again (heal the raid, climb up onto Beth'tilac's web together with the tank, heal the damage up there). After the third Smoldering Devasatation, Beth'tilac will descend from her web and Phase Two will have begun.
3. Phase Two↑top
Healing during Phase Two is intense, yet simple. Your entire raid, with the exception of the tanks, should stack behind Beth'tilac. Beth'tilac will stack a buff on herself, Frenzy, which increases her damage dealt (both with melee attacks and abilities) by 5% per stack, constituting a soft enrage mechanic.
Everyone (including the tanks) will receive damage from Ember Flare (10-man/25-man), at a rate of roughly once every 2 seconds. Because your raid is stacked together, AoE healing is efficient. Additionally, as the damage which the raid takes ramps up towards the end of the phase (closer to Beth'tilac's death), defensive cooldowns should be used, such as Aura Mastery, Power Word: Barrier, Divine Guardian or Spirit Link Totem.
Tank damage during this phase will increase as well, as Beth'tilac's melee attacks also benefit from Frenzy. Defensive cooldowns should be used on the tanks towards the end of the phase.
Because of The Widow's Kiss, tanks will swap the boss between themselves about every 10 seconds to mitigate the healing reduction effect stacked by this ability.
4. Heroic Mode↑top
The heroic mode of Beth'tilac is a true test of both your raid's ability as well as gear. It provides very tough challenges for healers and will require excellent execution to defeat.
4.1. Differences from Normal Mode
Before delving into the actual changes, it should be noted that all abilities deal more damage in heroic mode, and Beth'tilac as well as all of her adds have increased health. This will prove to be a brutal gear check for your healers, as well as for your DPS who will find it very hard to kill the boss before the soft enrage wipes the raid.
The changes from normal mode are:
4.2. Strategy Changes
As you can see, from a healing standpoint, these changes are not overly impactful, though they must be kept in mind. Only healers on the ground level are affected by them. Healers can generally maintain a central position and will not have to worry about too much, otherwise, with the exception of Cinderweb Drones' Fixate. When a Cinderweb Drone fixates on a healer, it is the job of that player to face the Drone away from the raid, and to pay attention not to bring the Drone in contact with any Spiderlings (by kiting it away if necessary).
The true challenge of this heroic mode is one of pure healing output required. Healers will need to contend with a few extra sources of damage, such as the damage on the DPS player(s) assigned to detonate Engorged Broodlings (about 50,000 damage each time), as well as damage dealt by Drones to the random targets they fixate on (though this damage is fairly low).
Overall, the healing requirements are quite brutal, especially during Phase Two, at which time a careful rotation of defensive and healing cooldowns must be employed.