Now that everyone has seen plenty of Dragon Soul, I think it's perfect time for a raid guide! In all seriousness, I've always enjoyed looking up other strat ideas and little tidbits of useful information on things that I had already been doing, and there are still plenty of people out there who are either just starting Dragon Soul due to holiday schedules or something similar, so there we go! This week we will take a look at the first four bosses of Dragon Soul: Morchok, Warlord Zon'ozz, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping, and Hagara the Stormbinder.
He looks intimidating, but really he's just one big rocky pushover. For the majority of the fight, all you need to focus on is avoiding AoE damage and hitting the boss. In terms of positioning, most strats call for the DPS and healers to stack up at max melee range so that Morchok can focus his extra Stomp damage on your tanks and not you. Therefore, when you see Crusader Strike light up, don't go any further in.
Throughout the fight, Morchok will summon Resonating Crystals that link to those closest to them (three raid members on 10-man, seven on 25-man). As a melee player, you probably won't find yourself in the position of soaking the damage from these crystals, but in case you do, remember that the closer you are to the crystal when it explodes, the better. When your tether turns blue, you will know you're close enough.
The other important phase is when Morchok pulls everyone toward him, summons shards of earth from the ground, and channels Black Blood of the Earth. Bad stuff on the ground means run away from it, right? Right! Use the pillars around Morchok to create a line of sight for the blood and wait out his timer. If possible, try to stand behind two adjoining pillars so you can still target the boss with moves like Judgement, Exorcism, and Hammer of Wrath. Yes, this will be one of the few times you can excusably hard-cast Exorcism, so savor it!
Otherwise, this is just a tank and spank. Time your cooldowns well and prepare to topple this giant over in short order. Keep an eye out for Rockhide Bracers, Bone-Link Fetish, and Breathstealer Band, the latter two being shared boss drops (so I won't bother listing them again!).
This Faceless One has one mechanic that makes him somewhat special. During the fight, Zon'ozz will summon a Void of the Unmaking, commonly known as the ping-pong ball. Each time this ball hits a player, it inflicts a large amount of damage, and once it hits the boss, it increases his damage taken by 5% per bounce. This stacking debuff leads to a strategy that involves bouncing the ball between two groups, melee and ranged, for a number of times before letting it hit the boss. When you're going to intercept the ball to bounce it back to the ranged pile, don't forget that it hurts. Per usual, glyphed Divine Protection is good for mitigating this magic damage, but don't forget about Divine Shield or your guardian angel, Sacred Shield.
Zon'ozz will also toss out a debuff called Disrupting Shadows that will deal a considerable amount of damage every 2 seconds. Once it is dispelled, you will be propelled backwards, so if you can, try to orient yourself so that your back is facing away from the path of the ball. The last thing you would want is to trigger the ball's bounce early, not only eating most of that damage yourself (likely resulting in death) but increasing the amount of damage it deals when it hits players even more. Also, Divine Shield will take this debuff off, so if your healers are falling behind on dispels and your health is dipping ever lower, feel free to hit your bubble.
Try to sync up your cooldowns for when Zon'ozz eats the ball, which is entirely within the raid's control, so just keep an open line of communication about when the ball is going to go in. Short cooldowns (1-minute trinkets and the like) can be safely popped at the beginning of the fight, but our larger suite should be saved for the burst phase.
Just rinse and repeat these two phases and you'll see a kill. Treads of Crushed Flesh and our tier gloves, Gauntlets of the Corrupted Conqueror, are pieces of interesting gear here.
Yor'sahj alone is a really big wuss. The real problems in this encounter are the multicolored slimes that he summons and uses to give your raid many headaches. Each time he summons three, and there are six different kinds of globules:
- Crimson (red) Lets Yor'sahj cast Searing Blood. When red comes out, the raid needs to stack.
- Cobalt (blue) Creates a Mana Void that leeches all mana from casters. Killing the void will return said mana to players within range.
- Glowing (yellow) Makes Yor'sahj attack twice as fast, calling for heavy tank healing but with no major changes in raid positioning or extra tactics.
- Dark (black) Summons adds that fixate on random raid members and need to be AoEed down. Stacking on the boss helps with cleave damage.
- Acidic (green) Causes the Maw of Shu'ma to react as if it just ate Indian food loaded with wasabi. Damage is targeted on players with a splash range of 4 yards. Spread out for this one.
- Shadowed (purple) Makes every fifth healing ability cause an AoE explosion. Naturally, this is kill target #1.
The adds will spawn from the big, oval-shaped recesses at the edges of the room, so Long Arm of the Law is a great tool for getting there in a jiffy. Even if you can't yet target the add while it's spawning, remember that Judgement is omnidirectional and you can cast it on Yor'sahj as you're running away from him to still get the speed boost (provided, of course, you are farther than 15 yards away).
When you get black slimes, don't forget to swap to Seal of Righteousness and mow those Forgotten Ones down with Divine Storm! And finally, ideal times to use cooldowns are outside of black phases (as Divine Storm doesn't work with Zealotry ... yet? Come on, Blizz!) just after killing an add. Alternatively, you could use them on the adds if you're having trouble getting your other DPS to switch in time.
Controlling the adds and the combinations he eats is what will usher you and your raid to victory. Grab Experimental Specimen Slicer and your tier leggings, Leggings of the Corrupted Conqueror, if they drop.
In my opinion, Hagara is one of the more fun fights this tier, though that obviously has different meanings for different people. If you're the type of raider who likes to run around and be on your toes during a fight, this one won't disappoint. Hagara has one basic phase with two transitional phases, and it's these transitional phases that make the fight quite enjoyable.
During the basic phase, Hagara will summon three Ice Lances that need to be intercepted by ranged raid members. If one of these hits you, it will damage all players that are within a 3-yard radius of you as well, so make sure your ranged friends are on top of their game.
Also, Hagara will encase people in Ice Tombs (two on 10-man, five on 25-man). A great way to deal with these, especially on 25-man, is to have everyone with the debuff stack up and for the rest of the raid to AoE them down. Again, pop Seal of Righteousness and Divine Storm your little hearts out here.
Ice Phase The ice transitional phase is basically a game of "Don't get hit by the bad while more bad is chasing you down!" Stay alive, ahead of the ice wall certainly and out of any falling icicles, all the while DPSing the four crystals along the outside of the platform. Easy, right?
Lightning Phase Like the ice phase, Hagara will shield herself and make you deal with whatever obstacle she throws in your way. For this phase, a lightning elemental will spawn. Upon its death, lightning will arc out and chain onto players less than 10 yards away. You have to make a human (or orcish, or what-have-you) chain to the next crystal, all the way around the circle. Having everyone run in a clockwise direction, 10 yards apart, seems to work just fine.
After you either destroy the four ice crystals or chain the lightning to the four conductors, Hagara will become vulnerable once again and gain a debuff called Feedback; a better time to pop your cooldowns, there is not.
Anyway, rinse, repeat, rewards. Runescriven Demon Collar and our tier shoulders, Shoulders of the Corrupted Conqueror, drop from the Stormbinder.
The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.