There are some raid encounters that play to a Retribution Paladin's strengths, and some that plain make life a living hell. If you've been following along with this blog and think you have a handle on the mechanics of Ret, you've got a grasp of the simple stuff and could probably do pretty decent damage on bosses like Anetheron or Morogrim Tidewalker (assuming you have appropriate level gear for the task). Those fights are tuned so that the melee DPS'ers really don't have to move and they can really get into a groove with their skill rotations.
Other fights in the game though, they are not as nice to the Ret Paladins. Today, we'll be examining the doomguard boss Kaz'rogal in the Caverns of Time: Battle for Mount Hyjal raid instance.
For veterans of vanilla WoW or explorers of the upper reaches of Hellfire Peninsula, Kaz'rogal will seem very familiar. He is very similar to the current world boss Doom Lord Kazzak, another Burning Legion doomguard who resides in Hellfire Peninsula, and his former form of Lord Kazzak when he stalked the Blasted Lands.
Why are we talking about this boss?
Kaz'rogal is a special fight of note for Ret Paladins because of one ability: the Mark of Kaz'rogal. Besides this ability, Kaz'rogal does not do anything special. He hits fairly hard, does a stomp that hurts anyone in melee range, cleaves anyone in front of him, throws a Cripple debuff around that's bothersome but not game-breaking. The Mark of Kaz'rogal, however, is a big deal. This ability hits everyone in the raid at certain intervals in the fight, and drains 600 mana per second for 5 seconds. That's 3000 mana gone in two blinks of the eye. How much mana do you have in a raid? 5000? 6000? And how much do you use just doing your regular rotation with Judgement of Wisdom on the boss?
The nature of Paladin mana conservation makes it very difficult to regain mana once it's gone, and the Retribution cycle (when pushed into high DPS mode) can suck the user dry even when chain-potioning. Special precautions must be taken for the Kaz'rogal fight in order to not go OOM (out of mana), especially considering what happens if you do - you explode for ~10k shadow damage on everyone around you.
What to do when facing Kaz'rogal
There are two schools of thought when battling this baddie - kill him before he drains you, or weather the drains with resist gear. The Mark of Kaz'rogal is a shadow-based debuff, and is resistable if you wear a bit of shadow resist gear. It would be prudent to wear ~100 shadow resist when learning the fight - cape and necklace are easy spots to use for this. The BT attunement quest necklace, [Medallion of Karabor], gets you halfway there, and wearing a [Night's End] with a shadow resist enchant can cover the rest. If you're going for maximum damage against Kaz'rogal and trying to kill him before he drains you, that should be enough resist gear. If you are trying for a bit more longevity, put on some extra resist gear, greenies or Shahraz resist gear, whatever you have. Don't know who Shahraz is? She's a shadow-based boss deep in Black Temple. You'll run into her later. I generally put on max resist gear (365 with Prayer of Shadow Resistance) for Kaz'rogal because I'm a scaredy-cat.
Whether you've got 0, 100, or 365 resist, the method to managing your cooldowns is the same against this boss. You will want to blow your Avenging Wrath as early as possible - as soon as Kaz'rogal is positioned and you have a 3-stack of Vengeance, hit it. This will get your Forbearance out of the way for later. Watch your mana pool intently - if you ever dip below 3k with no way to regain mana or actively avoid a Mark outside of Judgement of Wisdom, stop attack and run away. At the first Mark, if you get the debuff, potion once you have a 3k deficit. At the second Mark, your Forbearance should be gone. If you get the debuff, Divine Shield immediately to avoid any mana drain. At the third debuff, your mana potions will most likely be off cooldown, so use one to counteract the mana drain.
Hopefully, you're wearing a bit of shadow resist and you will resist a few debuffs so you can use your potions on your terms. However, it's random, so you just have to be aware and alert. For this fight, it would most likely be best to use Consecration rank 1 instead of a higher rank, just to save some mana.