I admit that I tend to get very defensive when I find others leaving comments or criticisms in the healing threads on my guild’s forums. Specifically, others who are not healers. Imaging my surprise when I logged in the other day and found a post labeled “Cauterize,” which I know to clearly be a mage talent. My inner monologue went something like “Ugh, what the hell is a post about a stupid mage talent doing in the…”
Apparently, we have been losing our mages regularly to this talent and the GM/healing lead was kind enough to put up a post about this to remind us all what this talent does and how we should address it. Sort of like what I’m about to do right now. For those that may not be in the know, this is Cauterize:
Here are some other facts about Cauterize, not covered in the initial tooltip:
– The damage from the debuff can be mitigated through resistance or things that would increase your resistance (i.e. Fire Protection Aura or potions)
– Cauterize does not cause durability loss, as the mage’s death is considered a suicide.
– Cauterize is not triggered by fall damage.
It has a number of similarities to Guardian Spirit, in that both will take a player who would have otherwise died and will bring them back up to a respectable amount of health. Where the similarities end is that Cauterize will start dealing damage to the mage in question and will quickly kill them if either the mage does not react to this or their healers do not respond to it. Let’s break it down by numbers, to get a closer look at what we’re dealing with.
Let’s say a mage has 125,000 health, fully raid buffed and they get killed by a sweeping Modulation attack during the Atramedes encounter. The mage returns to life with 50,000 health and now has a debuff on them that will start dealing 12% of their maximum health in damage every 1.5 seconds over 6 seconds (which comes out to 4 ticks). In this mage’s case, that would be 15,000 damage per tick. This can get ugly fast.
Tick 1: 50,000 – 15,000 = 35, 000 health remaining
Tick 2: 35,000 – 15,000 = 20,000 health remaining
Tick 3: 20,000 – 15,000 = 5,000 health remaining
Tick 4: 5,000 – 15,000 = dead
That’s assuming that no other environmental effects or other damage is coming in that wouldn’t kill the mage a whole lot sooner, like another Modulation, the Tracking debuff or Searing Flames (in keeping with the Atramedes example I mentioned earlier). So I’m sure you can see why it’s important to understand what this talent does and understand how you should respond to it and how the affected mage can deal with it.
What They Can Do About It
The first thing a mage is going to want to do, if they realize they have the debuff (and that’s often the tricky part) is to cast Mage Ward on themselves and try to absorb some of the damage. Mage Ward should always be the first thing a mage attempts to use. Obviously, Mage Ward won’t absorb too much, but it can buy a mage some time for a healer to respond or for them to try something else. If a mage knows they’re not going to need to use their Ice Block for anything anytime soon, they can certainly Ice Block out of it and remove the debuff completely and no damage will be received at all. Most mages are loathe to use their cooldown for this purpose, from what I’ve seen on my brief research on this. If push comes to shove, a mage can use Mana Shield, but this may not be advisable as fire mages are already prone to mana issues and that shield will absorb a lot of mana instead of the damage that would normally be taken. That should be used only in extreme circumstances.
If a mage is prone to not realizing they have it or there is so much going on during a fight that they can’t react quickly enough, they can use Power Auras and the following export to assist with this:
“Version:4.4; target:true; icon:spell_fire_rune; buffname:cauterize; x:477; bufftype:2; alpha:0.5; owntex:true; isResting:0; combat:true; size:0.4; y:-38; texmode:2; ismounted:0; timer.h:3.94; timer.Texture:OCR; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.x:-27; timer.Transparent:true; timer.ShowActivation:true”
Healthstones, health pots, Lightwell charges and standing in helpful healing effects (like Healing Rain or Efflorescence) can also help a mage in dealing with the damage from Cauterize.
What You Can Do About It
One of the habits I picked up from being assigned to raid healing for a good portion of my healing career is to sprinkle a bit more healing on the shadow priests and warlocks, because they tend to hurt themselves at various points during a fight. Now that I know that mages are doing it, too, I can make sure to lump them in that category and pay a bit more attention to them.
You can also make sure that you have the Cauterize debuff listed, in whatever raid frames or interface that you use, so that you can identify that the debuff is on one of your mages (or more than one) and react appropriately.
In closing, I think Cauterize is a wonderful talent to have and it can be a lifesaver, if handled correctly. Mages have always had a reputation for being glass cannons of sorts and fire mages, especially. The less time your mages spend dead, the more damage they can do and the faster things die, the less healing your healers should need to do. Cauterize can certainly help you out with all of that.