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Patch 4.1: Guide to the new Zul'Aman, part 2

Allison Robert

Jan'alai trash

This is the most touch-and-go portion of the instance's trash pulls. You'll find Amani'shi Scouts along the path and in various mob packs, and unless killed quickly, they'll run to a nearby drum and summon additional elite adds. Obviously, you want to avoid this, so any snare/root effects you can put on the little bastards should be deployed here. They're very easy to kill otherwise, and if you've done ZA before, you'll find them spawning in the exact same pattern all over again.

Otherwise, the most dangerous adds are the fire-casters, who will spew an AoE fire damage attack. This gets ugly pretty quick. What I can't tell you is whether this attack can be interrupted or not, so you're on your own there.

Jan'alai (dragonhawk boss)

This was one of the fights that drove warriors and bears up a wall back in the day due to the two specs' abysmal AoE threat generation. While that's no longer true, this is arguably the touchiest "animal boss" for a PUG.
  • Flame Breath A frontal cone AoE fire attack that leaves a line of fire in its wake (I think this is the encounter's only really new mechanic). He targets this randomly, so try to keep the group spread out to minimize the risk of multiple people getting hit. If you're tanking, keep Jan'alai turned away from the group for the inevitable moment when you're the target. If you're anyone else, don't sit in fire. Sitting in fire is bad. Fire bad. Tree pretty.
  • Fire Bomb Periodically Jan'alai will stop attacking, move to the center of his platform, and spawn little golden bubbles all over that will eventually swell and explode, dealing a huge amount of fire damage to anyone standing on top of one. As long as you move early, it's easy to avoid this, and he doesn't seem to spawn anywhere near as many Fire Bombs as he did at 70 (I remember having some hair-raising moments as a tank in the old ZA wedging my giant bear ass between the bubbles; at 85, you'll find some pretty big safe areas). Oh, and don't get caught too close to the entrances to the platform, either; he'll also spawn a line of fire there, so it's not a refuge.
  • Summon Aman'ishi Hatcher Jan'alai retains the ability to summon special hatcher mobs that will run to both sides of the platform and spawn dragonhawk hatchlings from eggs. If you've never done ZA but you read the ZG guide we published earlier, how you deal with this is pretty similar to how you'll deal with High Priestess Kilnara's panthers. The idea is not to keep them from spawning but control the rate at which they do. When Jan'alai hits 35%, he will hatch all remaining eggs, and ideally you want few to no eggs around for the last part of the fight. To control the spawns, talk to the group in advance about which Hatchers you'll let through, which you'll kill (e.g., "Let the right one go the first time, kill the left, then switch"), and how many eggs you'll let spawn at a time. While the dragonhawks don't do a lot of damage individually, they apply a stacking debuff called Flame Buffet that increases fire damage taken. While it's dispellable, your healer is going to blow through a ton of mana to keep your tank up, because Jan'alai's not going to drop aggro in the meantime.
How you handle the dragonhawks is what makes or breaks this encounter, and how many you'll let spawn per Hatcher is a question you can really only answer on a group-by-group basis. Raid tanks may be able to swallow the damage from a full spawn of dragonhawks per side; for tanks in blues, this is a much touchier proposition. Use your best judgment.

Halazzi trash

Unfortunately, I never saw this trash; the sole time I saw the latter half of the instance, I zoned into a group that had already completed it. If it's anything at all like the trash in the first half, it's not changed substantially from its level 70 incarnation. Expect a number of invisible lynx adds (i.e., don't ever walk in front of your tank) and trollish beastmasters. There was also a pathing mob pack in Halazzi's enclosure that was easy to miss if you weren't looking carefully, but again, I'm not certain that it's still there. However, this was the least troublesome trash clear of the instance at 70. While my memory's hazy on this point, I also recall a mob in Halazzi's enclosure with a frontal-cone cleave, or at least something that kept me tanking them facing a wall.

Halazzi (lynx boss)

Halazzi is still a dual-wield mob with significant melee damage. However, his mechanics are simpler to deal with than Jan'alai's.
  • Frenzy Periodically Halazzi will get much larger and increase his attack speed by 60% for several seconds. As you'd expect, damage ratchets up on the tank while this happens, and it can help to blow a minor cooldown if the tank has a bad avoidance streak or if the healer's mana is getting low. However, Halazzi will likely Frenzy far more than you'll have a cooldown up, so just be prepared to heal through this.
  • Totems Halazzi will drop totems that heal him or do damage to the group, so you should kill them immediately. That said, here's an achievement for going the length of the encounter without touching the totems and, appropriately enough, it's called Tunnel Vision. Ha ha, Blizzard.
  • Transform Halazzi will split into both a troll and lynx form; when this happens, the troll doesn't drop aggro on the tank, but the lynx seemed virtually untankable. The cat will charge and attack random group members and does some pretty respectable damage, but he was susceptible to stuns and snares (though not roots) from what I observed. If Halazzi and his lynx form continue to follow the same mechanics they did at 70, you can theoretically DPS either down as a means of getting rid of the lynx (at 70 the lynx would despawn after you killed it or else did a certain amount of damage to Halazzi's troll form), but unfortunately this wasn't something I was able to confirm. To be frank, that the lynx didn't seem to follow normal aggro rules does prejudice the encounter in favor of killing it anyway.
So to summarize: Heal through Frenzy. Kill totems. Kill lynx. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Profit.

Hex Lord Malacrass

Rather than four adds, Malacrass only has two these days, and you can crowd-control both. Neither has a lot of health (and which ones spawn seem to be random, as it was at 70), but it'll simplify the encounter if you only deal with one at a time. Really, they're mostly there to guarantee that your group has to deal with them and give Malacrass some uninterrupted time at the start to get some Drain Power stacks off, which is the encounter's real challenge.
  • Drain Power Malacrass will drain power from players, reducing your damage by 1% and increasing his own by 10%. Yep, this stacks. Yep, it's essentially a soft enrage.
  • Spirit Bolts Periodically Malacrass will stop and channel shadow damage at the entire group. At 70, it wasn't all that uncommon for raids to wear a few pieces of shadow resist gear to deal with this one mechanic, but it's not too bad at 85 ... until you get close to the end of the encounter with Malacrass sitting on a lot of Drain Power stacks. Be prepared to blow a survivability cooldown or two as the fight winds on to help your healer keep up with the damage.
  • Random player abilities This is arguably the most interesting part of the encounter. Malacrass, while draining players' power, also gains the ability to use some of their skills. He can't use any abilities from a class that's not present in the group, so the only skills you'll see will come from the class composition you're rocking in the dungeon (e.g., if you have a druid, paladin, warlock, rogue, and warrior in your group, you'll see him steal druid, paladin, warlock, rogue, and warrior abilities). As far as I'm aware, the skill set he "borrows" hasn't changed from level 70, and you'll find a list on Malacrass' Wowhead page (just be aware that Wowhead hasn't updated to Malacrass' level 85 version yet). And yes, Malacrass has been updated to borrow things from death knights as well. I would actually nominate the borrowed Mark of Blood ability to be among the more troublesome (see below for why).
Malacrass' melee damage is really not an issue; it's everything else you have to worry about. Crowd-control one of the adds at the start if you have to, kill the adds, and keep a close eye on whatever abilities Malacrass decides to borrow from players. If you have a death knight in the group and Malacrass slaps Mark of Blood on you, do not attack him. He'll heal for a metric ton each time you do.


Sorry, folks; I never saw this guy and, like Malacrass, there's precious little information available for him online. As soon as I land a competent group on the live servers, I'll update the guide.

WoW Patch 4.1 is on the PTR, and WoW Insider has all the latest news for you -- from previews of the revamped Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub to new valor point mechanics and new archaeology items.

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