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ZA Bear Run Guide
Want to know how to do a bear run?
Last updated August 28, 2008 @ 11:59:51AM
Viewed 2160 times

ZA Bear Run Guide

I've had quite a few people ask me about bear runs, so I decided to throw together a "how to" guide for those of you that are trying to get one together. I'm mostly going to discuss how we do it, although obviously your raid make up may vary. WWS can be found here. Successful runs (those in which a bear was obtained) are marked with and asterisk (*).

First, let's get some commonly asked questions out of the way.

How many bears have you gotten?

As of Aug 29, 2008 we have nine bears.

Do you need T6 to do a bear run?

No, but it doesn't hurt. We started the runs after our BT/Hyjal guild died. Many of us were well equipped- two warlocks and one healing priest had the T6 helm and gloves. However, the rest of the group was in badge gear or T5. Gear is important, but not as important as the ability of your players to perform.

How important is DPS?

Extremely. Overall raid DPS is usually about 5000, though we've done it with 4800. Our casters are all about 1300 dps. Rogues are generally around 650 with 900 dps on boss fights. DPS warriors, when we've had them, have been 1k.

How do I know we're on time?

A full clear of ZA takes about an hour and a half for us. That's generally with a five minute break after the timers to bio, pop chests and use hex sticks. Below is a list of what the timer read when we left each boss:

Eagle- 23, 21, 22
Bear- 28, 26, 27, 27, 28
Dragonhawk- 15, 15, 17, 16

This is obviously not a comprehensive list, as I'm usually pretty distracted and forget to write the times down, but it should give you a good idea whether or not you're on schedule. Fifteen minutes from Dragonhawk to Lynx is generally the bare minimum. Anything less than that and we won't make the last timer. It takes us 3.5 minutes to actually kill Lynx. See the WWS for how long it takes us to actually down each boss. This won't give you an idea of how fast your raid can move, but it will give you an idea of how good your dps is.

How is loot handled?

Some groups will leave badges/loot to rot. We grab the badges and run. Loot is rolled for as we're running to the next pull. Our rule is: Need roll for main spec and greed roll for offspec. I ask in vent if anyone plans on rolling. If I hear no response in three seconds I greed roll the item to DE. Timed chests are not opened until after all the timers are complete. Chest drops are zone-wide, so you don't actually have to be near the chest when it's opened to get the roll pop up. Chests also last until the instance resets, so you don't have to worry about chest loot expiring while you make the timers.

What is the typical reason a bear run fails?

Deaths and bad pulls. Rarely do we have an all out wipe, but losing 1-2 people here and there really hurts your time. A full wipe will almost always cause the loss of a bear. Our most troublesome area used to be the Lynx trash of all things, probably because that's when we were the most rushed. Scouts and adds from not dealing with them in time are also an issue. The stairs leading up to Dragonhawk can also be a trouble spot if people aren't paying attention and end up pulling the group off the side of the stairs.

Disconnects can cost you, especially if it's someone key. A dps can be replaced on the fly (though the new person will have to make their way to ZA on their own and catch up), but a tank or healer disconnect can cause a wipe. One of our healers had a critical error on Dragonhawk last night. His mic was not plugged in and he couldn't inform us of the problem. He died to the fire bombs, but had a SS so no one picked up the healing. We all waited breathlessly for him to pop. Eventually he went offline, but it was too late at that point. We recovered admirably, but we lost the timer by 1 min 30 sec.

Every second counts, so any time something goes slightly wrong, even if you recover quickly, it will cost you.

Who do you soul stone?

The healing priest. He's the squishiest and tends to die if something gets loose. As a warlock you should always have a SS created even if it's on cooldown. If we have multiple warlocks in raid we communicate to make sure there is always a SS up on the priest. If we have a shaman/pally combo I stick it on the pally.

In 25 man raids you'll generally SS a resto druid for the battle rez, but in a ZA bear run you'd have to assume that the druid died AND will need to BR someone else who died. If you're having that many deaths in one fight you've probably already lost the bear, so I wouldn't necessarily SS a resto druid just for the BR. I would do it if they were the squishier of two healers.

Building a Bear Run


You need two. The optimal combination is druid/pally, but warrior/pally would work too. It's nice to have a tank that can switch to dps (i.e. cat) on the eagle boss where two tanks are not needed. However, our druid is better equipped so we generally have him tank this boss anyway. A pally tank is extremely helpful. While I've seen all of ZA tanked successfully with two warriors, I doubt the ability of such a combo to move through the instance at lightening speed. Pallies ensure that the eagle trash and dragonhawk adds are never a problem. AOE will have far fewer problems and a lot less deaths with a pally tanking this stuff.

Your tanks need to be exceptional chain pullers, and they need to be able to mark and pull on their own. If your tanks are timid, need to be told what to do, or have someone else mark for them, then you're not going to make the timers.


You need two. Three is too much as it will gimp your dps significantly. Shadow priests are extremely helpful for keeping their mana up, as is the occasional innervate, but they should be able to manage their mana effectively enough not to go oom without either. Shamans are indispensable for the chain heals. CoH priests can do some group healing, but chain heal is superior in many ways (plus you get totems and bloodlust!). Our preferred healing combination is shaman/CoH priest. No, our shaman does not have T6. He didn't even have T5 when we started these runs. Yes, our priest does (2 pieces). We also have two healing pally alts that we bring in if someone is out. One is in full T6, the other is in T4/5 and badge gear. The shaman/pally combination works very well. However, we've had problems with priest/pally because the heals are too similar and our priest is used to the shaman taking the bulk of the group heals.

Healers need to be used to healing with one another. Our shaman/priest don't need to communicate. Each knows how the other heals and they work together extremely well. The priest actually gets bored and starts chatting in various channels on our bear runs when he's paired with the shaman. Meanwhile, the shaman is often on the phone with his girlfriend half the time. These are my best healers.


You need six, and you want classes that complement each other. Group 1 is usually my tank/melee group and Group 2 is the caster dps group. We usually have at least 1-2 warlocks, 1 mage, 1-2 rogues and 1-2 shadow priests. The group make up has changed slightly since it's inception. We used to have the occasional dps warrior and we always used to have an elemental shaman. Once or twice we've had an enhance shaman or ret pally; not once have we had a hunter. A hunter could effectively go in the melee or caster group, as FI buffs the dps and the hunter benefits from the spriest and Leader of the Pack. These days we tend to be very caster heavy, and only have one melee class. Below are some example raid groups I've used. I have no idea why there's such a huge gap before the table.

Group 1
Group 2
Group 1
Group 2
druid tank
pally tank
holy priest
resto shaman
druid tank
pally tank
resto shaman
holy priest
ele shaman

Raid Buffs and Debuffs

If you run with a high dps group, as you should be, salvation is extremely helpful. If you can't have a pally tank at least try to get a pally healer. Other buffs (AI, fort, mark) are all nice but perks. You can live without one or more of them. A shaman in each group is also wonderful, or at least one that you can swap around for bloodlust/heroism. Spriests are indispensable, not only for the mana back but for Misery and Shadow Weaving (if you have warlocks). Warlocks and spriests do nasty dps together. I highly recommend that people use food, oils, and elixirs/flasks.

The Most Important Thing Is...

A consistent team that knows the fights, doesn't need directions, and can blow through the bosses and the trash.

Learn to Crawl Before You Learn to Walk

Don't just make a run and announce that it's going to be a bear run. It's not, and you're only setting yourself up for disappointment. Start smaller. Make a ZA run. You want to set smaller, realistic goals that the team can work on and DO so that they feel some sense of accomplishment. Try to build the raid optimally, then work on the timers. Two timers is really easy and you should be able to meet this goal fairly quickly. Three timers is what you really want to work on, as any effective team should be able to get at least three. Once you can consistently get three timers, work on upping your speed and trying for a bear. The runs shouldn't be about the bear you lost, but what you won.

The Route

Eagle > Bear > Dragonhawk > Lynx

Eagle Notes:
- The pat in the central area can be engaged before or after you kill eagle. If it's in the way, kill it. If not, just wait until you're on the way to bear.
- Bloodlust/Heroism early on eagle so it's up in time for bear.

Bear Notes:
- Rumor has it that you can use Soothe Beast on the two bear pull and hug the wall to bypass them. We haven't tried, as they don't take long to kill and it's not currently worth the risk if it backfires.
- Bloodlust/Heroism right after he switches from bear back into troll. You don't want your casters to be silenced during the BL.

Dragonhawk Notes:
- Sheep nothing. It ties up your mage and reduces dps. Instead, kill the flamecasters first. Keep up Curse of Tongues and purge/dispel/steal the haste buff.
- One tank charges the scout while the other picks up the rest. The first tank can taunt a target off once the scout is dead. Everyone should be looking for scouts.
- Shadowstep rogues, while lower in overall damage, are quite useful for stunning and killing scouts.
- The raid leader (or someone) needs to be familiar with all the potential scout pats and where they can spawn, and be watching for them.
- Pull up your totems as you go!
- The pat of one troll and two dragonhawks that moves up the stairs on the way to the boss can be skipped. If he's there it's probably faster to just kill him, but if he's away just have the group move up to where the next pull (2 flamecasters, 2 guardians) is standing.
The Stairs
Tank the stuff here to avoid pat.
- Make sure everyone knows their job on Dragonhawk. The pally tank, a group healer (shaman or CoH priest is best), and your AOE head to one of the side platforms to deal with the eggs. Make sure everyone on egg duty is ON THE EGGS. If you stand on the bridge you'll chain fire from the main platform to the back. Anyone not on egg duty is on the main platform, spread out. One person (rogue or hunter works best) is in charge of killing one of the hatchers. We kill the left hatcher and hatch the right side first. An entire side is hatched at a time. When the second round of hatchers arrives we let both of them go. This expedites hatching the second side.

Lynx Notes:
- After killing the flamecaster/tamer pat (sheep the tamer), head left onto the little wall and hop on it (I will try to get pictures of this). Squeeze through and drop onto the grass on the other side. The first pull you make is one big cat and a bunch of little cats. Do NOT stand on the wall as the cats will bug out, run around the wall and pull stuff. After they are dead, you're going to go through the window of the hut you see. Beware the pat that comes close to the hut. Make sure it's marked! Also dismiss your pets, as I've seen some pets run around and pull adds. Keep left as you head through the hut. You can hop through the second hut in the same way, then mount up on the other side, or you can simply mount up and go around the second hut on the LEFT SIDE.
Facing Lynx trash
Circle is the window you seek. Follow the yellow path.
Don't stand on the ledge.
Facing the hut
Another view
View inside first hut. Keep left!
From Hut 2 to the next pull.
- Keep hugging the left, mounted. You'll pass the back exit to Lynx and end up next to the pond. Sheep the tamer, kill the crocs, then kill the tamer. Do NOT AOE along the pond as you risk pulling the neutral crocs.
- Every time you see two tamers, sheep one (they can MC the tanks). The last pull before Lynx's room may or may not contain tamers. If there is one, sheep it.
- Chain pull Lynx's room. Flamecasters are really the only ones you need to worry about. You can easily be killing the patrol while finishing off a guardian and handler though.
- Ignore the lightening totems during the last 25%.
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