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Ready Check: Facing Kalecgos

Jennie Lees

Ready Check
is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau,
everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Or wipe to them. Again. And again. And again... This week, we take our first steps into Sunwell.

Apparently, there's some sort of patch out, and with it some new raid instance. Wait, what? A new raid instance? After the months and months of farming BT to death?

Many of the raiders in my guild have been well and truly bored for a while, and we've seen a fair bit of attrition as people got so bored they dropped out of the game for a while. A new patch and a new instance brought some back; on our first raid this week, attendance was through the roof. With bags of flasks, potions, food, sharpies, seeds and caps, we ventured into Sunwell Plateau for the first time; read on for the raiders' lowdown on Kalecgos, the first boss you'll meet there. (Note, spoilers within!)


First up, you'll meet One-Shot the Robot's fiery brother. With a snazzy green forked lightning attack, he's likely to take you a little by surprise, but an easy enough first pull. After that you'll see groups of blood elves; the first two groups are standard sheep-and-tank jobs, although beware the Cabalists who unleash imps into the raid. However, from then on it starts to get interesting.

Remember Zul'Aman? The dragonhawk trash where patrolling scouts would call in reinforcements if they weren't killed tout suite? This trash is like that, only the scouts run off towards deactivated robots at the first sign of danger and start channeling to reawaken them. You don't want one of those robots adding, believe me; work out a pulling strategy so that the scout dies, and dies fast. Getting close to the robots aggros them, too, so you'll probably want to kill at least some of them to make your lives a little easier.

After four scout groups it's back to normal humanoid groups, and after you pull the last robot, you'll find yourself facing Kalecgos himself. Obviously the amount of time to clear this trash depends on how often you wipe on scout pulls; expect at least an hour the first time you go through it, but with some practice you can reduce that time (it was 45 minutes on our second night).

The Boss

Kalecgos is an... interesting fight. It's as if C'Thun, Magtheridon and Bloodboil got bored one day and picked a fight with the Four Horseman, with Vaelestrasz egging them on the whole time. You first meet Kalecgos in Magister's Terrace, where he appears in half-elf form and helps you get your Heroic attunement; here, you meet his corrupted version, with a dreadlord named Sathrovarr the Corruptor possessing him from the inside. What does this mean to the raid? That there are two bosses to kill, not just the dragon you initially see. Both Sathrovarr and Kalecgos' dragon form need to die at the same time, so that Kalecgos can be redeemed.

Thus, there are two worlds, each containing one of the two bosses. You'll find Sathrovarr within the shadow world, representing the corruption of Kalecgos, who is fighting him from within in humanoid form. Periodically (every 10-15s) throughout the fight, the dragon Kalecgos will target a raid member and cast Spectral Blast, which teleports them to the shadow world (damaging and knocking back nearby members). This is the crux of the fight.

When a raid member gets teleported, a portal (just like a mage's portal) will appear where they were, allowing others to click it and travel through to the shadow world too. As you enter the shadow world, you get a debuff (
(Spectral Realm) that lasts 60 seconds; when it runs out, you get ported back to the normal world and gain a debuff (Spectral Exhaustion) that won't let you click another portal for 60 seconds. This all suggests a portal rotation, ensuring that sufficient raid members are in both worlds at the same time for the whole fight. A stacking debuff in the normal world also means you can't keep people in there forever; sooner or later, everyone will have to take a portal.

The approach suggested on WoWWiki's Kalecgos tactics page (which we used) involves four portal rotation groups. At all times you'll need a tank in the shadow world (to keep Sathrovarr from killing Kalecgos) and one in the normal world (to stop the dragon stomping the raid); both bosses hit hard, so you'll need healers in both worlds too. There's also a curse that needs taking care of, so decursers need to be in both worlds too. Finally, you do want the boss to die, so sprinkle some DPS into the mix too.

You can set up your four groups to each consist of: a tank, two healers, a decurser and miscellaneous DPS. Or you can use three tanks and keep them on their own rotation -- the tanks just need to communicate so that you have one in each world and one ready to jump in a portal. Identify the groups somehow -- by symbol or number -- and figure out a way for each group to communicate when it's their turn to jump through a portal (i.e. one of their group just got ported). This could be listening to bossmods or vent, or setting up /w or /ra macros; whatever works for you. Spread out, sticking with other group members, and watch for this communication! When someone clicks a portal it becomes unclickable for about a second, to limit the number of people who go through, so the entire group needs to spam-click it to get through in time (we have a feeling this will get changed, especially as you have to play with camera angle a bit on some portals). As soon as a tank and healers are through the first portal, the tank can taunt Sathrovarr off Kalecgos and the fight below begins. If left untaunted, humanoid Kalecgos will die, so make sure your hit rating's high and spam taunt as needed.

The rest of the fight follows from there, really; you'll find a bottleneck occurs when the first group to be ported reaches the end of its time in the shadow world, as there will be few people in the normal world and arcane buffet debuff stacks will be high. As this group comes out the tank can taunt off the current dragon tank, as long as healers are expecting it. This is where you're most likely to run into a tank death, so ensure healers are aware of this. Tanks are also at risk in the shadow world, as Sathrovarr's Corrupting Strike is a 9-11k shadow attack that also stuns and DoTs the tank; delicious. Add to that the high melee damage (5-7k a hit) and an enrage at 10%, and you get a seriously healing-intensive fight -- fortunately it's quite short. Most kills I've seen so far are taking the same approach as us and stacking healers to get the first kill. People also need to be aware of their own survival, and ready to take healthstones, potions or whatever other measures they can to stay alive.

More on the other components of the fight:
  • Arcane Buffet is a stacking debuff that ticks whenever you're in the normal world. The initial application does about 500 damage and increases your Arcane damage taken by 500 for 40s; every 8 seconds it's cast again, dealing damage and adding a new stack of the debuff debuff, so after about 80 seconds you're taking 5k damage every 8s. You'll want to be in a portal before that, as the debuff falls off during your time in the shadow world.
  • Like all dragons, Kalecgos' dragon form has a frontal (frost) breath and a tail swipe -- both can be outranged. Getting stunned by the tail as you're running to a portal is bad!
  • Periodically, the dragon form will cast Wild Magic on a raid member. This is one of the following: +100% healing done, +100% casting time, -50% chance to hit, +100% critical damage, +100% threat, -50% ability cost. You can't do much about these, but be aware when -- for example -- your tank has reduced chance to hit, as it'll affect threat.
  • Curse of Boundless Agony. Sathrovarr casts this on a random raid member; initially, the periodic damage is low, but increases the longer it stays on a target. When removed it jumps to another raid member, so you'll want to figure out the best point to decurse it off -- BigWigs at least has timer bars for its duration to help with this.
  • Shadow Bolt Volley - aimed at someone in the shadow world, this is a conal shadow attack.
  • When the demon hits 10% he forces Kalecgos to enrage, so you'll need cooldowns and co-ordinated DPS so both bosses die at the same time; if the dragon reaches 1% first, he'll stop opening portals to the shadow world.
  • Co-ordinate and communicate!
As the above suggests there's a lot of raid damage around, and it's certainly possible to run into bad luck; you've high stacks of Arcane Buffet and just took another hit, then a nearby person gets teleported, killing you -- or perhaps you're just low from the teleport splash damage and you get hit with a shadow volley the moment you enter the shadow realm. I've seen reports of guilds using their Medallions of Karabor to cut down on some of the shadow damage, but since other sources say that all the damage counts as physical and can't be resisted, we opted for the min-max performance approach. It's crucial that all your raiders are situationally aware, able to remember which groups they're in, able to perform to their absolute best when they may be the only healer on a tank or the only decurser around, able to put out decent DPS under pressure, and all that jazz; many guilds, like ours, have been languishing in the comfort of farm content for a long time now and this fight is a short, sharp slap to the face of those less-than-committed amongst your ranks.

That said, it's a really interesting and fun fight to execute, especially as a tank -- I can't say I like seeing my health drop to 1% as often as it has during this encounter, but that edge-of-seat awareness is something I'd definitely missed in the past months. Here's to more of it.

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