Ready Check is a twice-a-week column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Vault of Archavon or Ulduar, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Today, we step back a little and look at endgame in the context of sports.
You've wrecked the Flame Leviathan. You euthanized Razorscale. You gave a cold shower to Ignis the Furnace Master. You marvelled at Deconstructor. When it came to Kologarn, you damned well shall pass. The Assembly of Iron said court was out of session, and Auriaya and her small legion of adds gave you no pause. You've asked Hodir, "Who's your Daddy?"
Now, though, it's time for Thorim.
While the Thorim encounter may not be as wildly unique as the Flame Leviathan fight, I think Thorim is probably going to be a fairly novel fight for most people. It has a similar to dynamic to Gothik the Harvester, but only in-as-much as you need to split your raid in half.
Here's the short, short, short version of the fight. You start the entire encounter by attacking the Jormungar (big worm) and associated adds in what's called the Arena. By finishing off the last of that group, you start the real fight. You'll note Thorim is standing up on a balcony. Thorim will become immediately ensconced in a sheath of power, which prevents even ranged DPS from really hurting him. To kill the boss, you need to get him to come off that balcony. But, how would you ever do such a thing?
There's now a lever you can pull, which opens a gate. As a result, a hallway opens on the side of the Arena. You can follow that hallway and kill the denizens along the way. Once you reach the end, you can rush up to Thorim and hit him. That makes him jump down.
But you can't just ignore what's happening in the Arena, while you have a team sprinting through that hallway. (The hallway is also called the Gauntlet.) You need to leave a team behind in the Arena to handle the large number of adds who will leap down from the surrounding stadium seating.
A lot of the "complication" of this fight comes from logistical balancing. If you send too much DPS with the hallway excursion, you may not leave enough behind to keep the Arena tank and healer from getting overwhelmed. If you leave too much DPS behind in the Arena, then your hallway group could take forever and a day (or, the length of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings) to reach Thorim. That means your Arena team will eventually run out of juice, and succumb to the waves of adds.
Let's start by taking a look at what you'll encounter at what happens in the Arena and then inside the hallway gauntlet. That will obviously help you decide who you're going to send where during the Thorim encounter.
Dark Rune Warbringer
- Aura of Celerity: This buffs the Warbringer's allies with 20% increase to melee, ranged, and casting speed. If you have a Priest, you can use Mind Control to use the Aura for your own nefarious purpose.
- Runic Strike: A fairly straightforward attack that does both physical and Nature damage.
- Runic Lightning: A straightforward Nature damage attack.
- Runic Shield: A bubble that protects the Evoker from damage. You can usually blow through it pretty quickly.
- Runic Mending: This produces a significant heal to adds in the Arena. This is the ability that makes killing Dark Rune Evokers your first priority.
- Mortal Strike: It's Mortal Strike! This really is an Arena fight. And as any Arena healer will tell you, Mortal Strike is bad news. While I'd still blow the Evoker away first (that's the healer), Mortal Strike is bad enough news that you should kill Champions pretty quickly.
- Whirlwind: A point blank Area Effect attack that does significant damage to everyone around the Champion. At this point in your raiding, your melee probably already knows not to stand in Whirlwinds.
- Charge: A quick rush-and-stun that works similarly to a Warrior's ability.
- Low Blow: A light damage attack that will debuff your damage slightly.
- Pummel: Includes an interrupt and small damage.
- Commoners aren't much threat. While you don't want to let them stack up too greatly, they're your last priority for the killing.
Dark Rune Acolyte -- You faced a few of these when you first entered Thorim's area, so you're probably already familiar.
- Greater Heal, Renew: Much like your own healers, these guys will do their best to heal their comrades in arms. Their spells work similarly to the PC versions.
- Holy Smite: The Acolyte's direct damage spell, the Holy Smite isn't incredibly dangerous. However, since the Acolytes are healers, you should really be killing them first anyway.
- Impale: A strong attack, which will cause the target to bleed until you heal the affected PC to full.
- Whirling Trip: An Area Effect knock-down and stun attack.
- Charge: He will charge a member of your raid. However, if you're all stacked on one another (or "cuddled"), then he will have no one distant to charge.
- Runic Barrier: The Runic Barrier ability not only protects the mini-boss, but inflicts Arcane Damage on attackers.
- Smash: Does significant damage in a frontal cone, so keep the Colossus faced away from your group.
- Runic Detonation: This is spell cast upon the members of your raid. The affected member is unable to move, so everyone needs to get away from him or he will explode and hurt everyone around him.
- Stomp: Another knockback from the mini-boss.
- Sheath of Lightning - Reduces all damage done to Thorim during phase one.
- Stormhammer - Inflicts light damage to a player and stuns them for 2 seconds, as well as causing Deafening Thunder around them. This does moderate Nature damage, but increases casting time by 75%.
- Charge Orb - Charges one of the four orbs in the room, which causes it to zap nearby players.
- Berserk - 5 minutes after the raid started the fight, Thorim will super-charge the adds to kill everyone. This is essentially an Enrage timer.
- Summon Lightning Orb - As soon as the Berserk occurs, Thorim will send a ball of lightning through the hallway, killing everyone inside. If the Arena team wipes out, Thorim will also use this ability to clear out the hallway.
- Chain Lightning - Inflicts Nature damage on its main target and increases its damage by 100% each time it jumps from target to target
- Lightning Charge - Fires a cone in a random direction with lightning sparks. The cone will cause Lightning Charge after a few seconds, inflicting big Nature damage to players in it, and increasing Thorim's attack speed by 15% and Nature damage by 10%.
- Unbalancing Strike - Inflicts 200% weapon damage on the main target and reduces its defense skill by 200 for 15 seconds. The tank who gets this debuff will take critical strikes, so you need to be ready to swap tanks.
Okay, so here's how it all goes. You enter the Arena and clear out the big worm and the Acolytes. The big worm does a frontal cone of damage, so keep it faced away from your raid. As soon as it's all clear, hit the lever.
One group stays in the Arena. AE-capable classes are especially desirable here, since that incidental damage is very effective in keeping the area clear of Commoners. Avoid the orbs, since Thorim will occasionally charge them up so that they zap you for damage. Otherwise, you're mostly in a holding pattern. Kill the Evokers first, then Champions, then whatever you happen to have up at the time.
Your hallway group needs to progress through the two mini-bosses. You fight the Runic Colossus first, being careful to not stand in the Shockwave he sends down the hall at you. Once you get to him, tank him facing away from the group. When Colossus dies, immediately head up to the Ancient Rune Giant. The only way to keep the adds from spawning is to engage the boss, so grab him as soon as possible.
After the Giant is dead, proceed on to Thorim. You'll see some big circles on the floor as you get near the boss. Don't stand in those, or you'll be trapped in a field for a few moments. As soon as you hit Thorim, Phase Two begins. As a note, keep an eye out for Sif. If she's still in the Arena when you engage Thorim, she'll help defend him. That's Hard Mode (which we'll round up at another time.)
When Thorim himself hits the ground, welcome to a more classic DPS race. The orbs will shoot lightning at Thorim along the floor, so don't stand in that. (We're still fairly consistently not-standing-in-stuff through most of Ulduar.) Thorim hits your tank with that Unbalancing Strike, so be ready to swap back and forth across your tanks to let that debuff drop.
See you next installment for Mimiron!
Ready Check is here to provide you all the information and discussion you need to bring your raiding to the next level. Ready Check appears twice a week, with writers Jennie Lees and Michael Gray.