Ready Check: Yogg-Saron

Michael Gray
M. Gray|09.02.09

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Ready Check: Yogg-Saron

Ready Check is a 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.

This is the show stopper. The big guy, the final countdown. Yogg-Saron is the last normal boss in Ulduar. (The only other dude is a freaky guy made from stars. Let's stick to the Old Gods here.) Yogg-Saron is the second Old God raid boss in the game, and shares an important dynamic with his predecessor: in-order to kill Yogg-Saron, you have to go inside him and fight a vital organ. Pretty freaky, huh?

Yogg-Saron is actually my favorite fight thematically. Perhaps as a purposeful shout-out to game mechanics from the Call of Cthulu, your raid members will have to manage a buff called Sanity. That dynamic was a signature, revolutionary aspect of the tabletop game, and Blizzard uses it very similarly in this boss fight. At least, I hope it's purposeful. It's possible they were simply inspired by Lovecraft's stories the same way that tabletop designers were. Still, I prefer my little world where those guys threw some dice and stared at their SAN score.

Anyway, let's get to talking about the boss fight.

Ever have one of those fights that are really really hard to explain, but then once you've done them, they don't seem so bad? That's Yogg-Saron in a nutshell.

The super, duper quick and dirty version of Yogg-Saron is that he's a three-phase fight. In the first phase, you blow up his illusory form by dragging exploding mobs on top of it. Then, in the second phase, you kill some tentacles while melee run into a room and kill more tentacles. Once the melee have finished up killing their tentacles, they kill Yogg-Saron's brain. Then, lastly, having roughed up his brain, you kill his body. While you're doing all this, the four Keepers will be buffing you with fantastic abilities to help you take down the Old God.

Like I said, that's the super, duper quick version. It's so quick and summarized that it has almost no bearing on the actual fight. We're going to have to go piece by piece for this to make sense. Following tradition, I'm going to summarize everybody's abilities first, and then describe the fight itself.

You -- You! The player! You start with a special buff on you called Sanity. You start with 100 stacks of Sanity. If you run out of Sanity, you go Insane. When you go Insane, you obviously become a fairly serious detriment to your raid, as you're doing your Yogg-given best to kill them all. Your raid will have to kill you. You cannot be battle rezzed in any way, or you will simply return from the dead still Insane.

Your Help, the Keepers


  • Speed of Invention - Increases all damage done by 10% and movement speed by 20%.
  • Destabilization Matrix - Mimiron channels a beam of Titan energy that destabilizes the molecular structure of certain Saronite-based creatures, reducing attack speed by 100% and casting speed by 300%. Cast on tentacles that appear during Phase Two.
  • Resilience of Nature - Increases all damage done by 10% and healing received from all sources by 20%.
  • Sanity Well - Freya conjures a Sanity Well that regenerates the Sanity of anyone who stands within it. These green beams look like a big, stable Starfire animation, but green.
  • Fury of the Storm - Increases all damage done by 10% and total health by 20%.
  • Titanic Storm - Thorim channels a storm of Titan energy that periodically strikes at enemy targets with bolts of lightning strong enough to destroy weakened immortal creatures.
  • Fortitude of Frost - Increases damage done by 10% and reduces damage taken from all sources by 20%.
  • Hodir's Protective Gaze - Allows Hodir to save a friendly target who sustains fatal damage by encasing them in a nearly impenetrable block of ice for 10 seconds. Hodir must rest after performing this action, so it can only happen every so often.
The Enemies

Sara (Phase One)
  • Sara's Fervor -- Increases a friendly target's damage by 20%, but also increases damage taken by the target by 100%. Lasts 15 sec.
  • Sara's Blessing -- Heals a friendly target for significant damage, but causes killing-blow Shadow damage over 20 sec.
  • Sara's Anger -- Inflicts Shadow damage every 3 sec, but increases Physical damage done. Lasts 12 sec.
  • Shadowy Barrier -- Prevents you from being able to do any damage to Sara during the first phase.
Guaridan of Yogg-Saron (Phase One)

  • Shadow Nova -- Inflicts shadow damage to any targets within 15 yards when the Guardian of Yogg-Saron dies (including Sara).
  • Dark Volley - Inflicts Shadow damage to the entire raid. Reduces healing effects by 25%. Lasts 10 seconds.
Sara (Phase Two) - The illusory body of Yogg-Saron. It's still a man, baby.
  • Psychosis - Inflicts Shadow damage. Also reduces Sanity by 12%. One second cast, chain cast on random players in the raid when Sara is not casting anything else.
  • Brain Link - Links the brains of two players. Afflicted targets suffer Shadow damage and lose 2% Sanity every 1 sec. whenever they are more than 20 yards apart.
  • Malady of the Mind - Inflicts Shadow damage and causes the enemy target to run in horror for 4 sec, then attempts to jump to another enemy within 10 yards. Also reduces Sanity by 3%.
  • Death Ray - Blasts the target with a stream of deadly energy, performing an instant death.
Crusher Tentacles (Phase Two)

  • Diminish Power - Weakens enemy units in a large area around the caster, reducing the damage they do by 20%. Channeled. Stacks up to 4 times. This can be interrupted via melee.
  • Focused Anger - Enrages the caster when hit by attacks and spells, increasing attack speed and damage dealt. Stacks up to 99 times. Damage dealt is increased by 3% and attack speed is increased by 3%. Lasts 1 second. Refreshes upon being hit. You'll need to back off periodically to let this buff drop.
Corruptor Tentacles (Phase Two)
  • Curse of Doom - Dooms the target, inflicting Shadow damage after 12 sec. The curse is dispellable.
  • Apathy - Reduces the attack and casting speeds of an enemy target by 60% and slows its movement by 60%. Lasts 20 sec. Magic dispellable.
  • Black Plague - Infects an enemy target with the plague, causing it to periodically retch uncontrollably and be stunned for 2 seconds. Lasts 24 seconds. Disease dispellable.
  • Draining Poison - Causes Nature damage inflicted every 3 sec. Mana drained every 3 sec. Lasts 18 seconds. Poison dispellable.
Constrictor Tentacles (Phase Two)
  • Squeeze - Grabs a nearby enemy and squeezes the life out of them, inflicting heavy Physical damage every second. Also cancels druids' shapeshifts. You can bubble out of this if you are a Paladin or a Mage, which also has the benefit of destroying the tentacle.
Yogg-Saron's only ability in Phase Three is Lunatic Gaze. His help comes in the form of Immortal Guardians.

Okay, so now we've been through the lists of what everyone can do. Let's put it all together.

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