Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Mannoroth

Mathew McCurley
M. McCurley|04.17.12

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Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Mannoroth
Your first finals contender for this season of Two Bosses Enter is here! The Echo of Sylvanas summarily defeated the Echo of Baine, crushing the vote and positioning herself for a huge win at the end of the tournament. People just love them some Sylvanas, don't they? What can I say? And, speaking of Echos, if you don't mind, I will begin at the beginning ...

Your second finals contender is about to be crowned. Murozond, twisted and tainted, exists as a separate shadow of his former Aspect, Nozdormu, in every moment. His time has not come -- it came for an eternity before this moment and will come for an eternity after this moment. Mannoroth, destroyer of worlds and the lives existing on each, seeks only destruction of all things standing in the way of total universal domination by the Burning Legion. Two beings built for pure chaos face off this week in the Two Bosses Enter arena! Cast your vote now.

Seriously, cast your vote. The buttons call to you, like the sirens to Odysseus, except that you aren't tied to the mast ... and now you've crashed into Fun Island! Just vote.


The rules of the ring
  • The WoW Insider Ring is considered neutral territory, where both combatants are able to access their usual encounter mechanics and abilities. If you can't visualize it inside the squared circle, visualize it someplace else -- but you must take into consideration all of each bosses' abilities and mechanics.
  • Assume that each opponent is intelligent and capable of strategic thinking.
  • All of the competitors' abilities, including crowd control and other effects to which bosses are usually immune, work on their opponents (with apologies to considerations of lore on this point).
  • Assume that the opponents share similar levels, health pools, and comparative overall damage output.
  • Don't get caught up in gameplay mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter.
  • Don't neglect style, story, and scale. Everything is a factor; seeking balance is your goal as a spectator and judge.
In Corner One: Murozond

Time itself tears apart as Murozond traverses the timeways, always escaping certain death, always running from his inevitable future. Even as the Aspect of Time, Nozdormu could not foresee all of Azeroth's wild cards. Murozond, as it turned out, was just one of those wild cards.

Murozond has been a favorite in this competition because of his immense power and the cool-fight factor. What's the cool-fight factor, you ask? Well, that's simple. A cool-fight factor is achieved when a boss is part of a really fun encounter. Five-man boss encounters usually have to be dumbed down considerably for a smaller group of players to the point that they become tank and spank or, on the other end of the spectrum, too complicated to be fun without the right group of people. Temple Guardian Anhuur comes to mind on heroic mode. Damn you, PUG switches...

The Murozond fight hits the right balance between fun mechanics and stuff you have to click on and watch out for. Watching time rewind for the first time was unprecedented in WoW encounters. Usually you see the cool stuff in the raids first, and eventually those mechanics trickle down into 5-man design, but Murozond was raid-worthy out of the box. I think the player base really appreciated that, and it shows.

In Corner Two: Mannoroth

Speaking of fan favorites, Mannoroth is dominating this competition with no grace and no poise. This demon charges into the fray and takes no prisoners. Truth be told, he's nigh unbeatable anyway, even outside of the tournament walls, so I'm ready to just throw my weapons at his feet and proclaim the Legion victorious.

No! Never. We have rules here. If Mannoroth wants to win it, he's going to do it fair and square. Let's see how the votes turn out. There have been some spectacular margins so far, and while I love Mannoroth and his fight from the Well of Eternity 5-man, I cannot help but dread going in there and spending seven minutes on the second half of that end fight. Not that it's difficult, mind you. It's just hard to alt-tab.

Mannoroth, please don't hurt me for my previous comments. I am trying to be funny for the audience. Just don-- auugghhhhhfdgds

Last Week's Winner: Echo of Sylvanas

Kaboom. The Echo of Baine had no idea what kind of pain train was about to run him over when he signed up to compete against anything remotely resembling Sylvanas. She even had a little help from her friends. It's a shame, really. He came to the fight with whatever remained of his pride and honor, cloaked in regret and sadness for a world gone wrong, and left with the knowledge that Sylvanas' fans are just way, way better than Baine's. Looks like it's time to mooooooove on! Been saving that for weeks.

I like when readers think out loud in their posts and comments, working through exactly what would happen when mechanic meets mechanic, encounter designer squares off against encounter design. That's exactly what windseeker04 did in this comment about Sylvanas' win and why it's a bit unlikely that this conclusion was reached.
I initially cast my vote for Baine.

Then I got thinking about it a bit harder.

The reason I voted for Baine initially was because I factored in the wisdom and knowledge that comes with battle, which he has plenty of. So let's assume that he's completely unaware of the Dark Lady's ability to summon the ghoul ring, and throws his totem at Sylvanas, hurting her and knocking her back. She rushes for the totem, picks it up, and throws it back at him, thereby stunning him for the brief time. Then, because she sees the opening the stun created, she pulls him beneath her and creates the ghoul ring.

Baine recovers from the stun and assaults one ghoul, eventually killing it (though that's not to say it won't be a quick kill, and the ghoul ring will have almost finished closing by the time he kills the one ghoul). Assuming cooldowns on abilities, Baine would then resolve to save his totem throw for the ghoul ring again, to make killing a ghoul and escaping the ring so much easier and faster.

Except now he's robbed himself of his biggest weapon. Throwing his totem had the double benefit of not just knocking the foe back, but inflicting easily the single biggest spike of damage he has at his disposal.

Sylvanas is likely to just realize that he throws his totem, and will resolve to summon the ghoul ring once more only when Baine throws the totem at her again. Except unbeknownst to her, he's planning on throwing the totem if she summons ghouls again so he can escape the ring faster.

They both take away their single, most devastating ability from their own arsenals. The fight becomes a bludgeoning.

...Except that Sylvanas isn't a bludgeoning type. Baine is very straightforward with his damage output - melee strikes, the damage buff from lava (assuming lava in play), and Pulverize to not only break platforms, but deal damage as well. Sylvanas, however, has arrows and, more importantly, has Black Arrow still at her disposal - a DoT.

Forced into a 'bludgeoning', Sylvanas wins because she can cause extra damage over time, whereas Baine unfortunately cannot. And even if Sylvanas used her ghoul ring and Baine threw his totem at another ghoul to free himself, he's only stalling for time. His abilities against the Banshee Queen are just subpar, at least in comparison to her Black Arrow's DoT effect, in addition to the extra damage she's throwing his way.

Sorry Baine. My initial perception saw you beating her soundly because you can break the ghoul ring by throwing your totem at a ghoul and knocking it back, but taking both abilities away... the Dark Lady has you beat.
I agree -- Sylvanas has dealt with her share of charging, raging brutes before, some far more intimidating in terms of size than the Echo of Baine. Whatever is left of Sylvanas in her Echo will be sure to know how to deal with many of the mechanics Baine's Echo brings to the table.

There are times when comments really get me thinking, sadly in hindsight, about the what-could-have-beens and all that jazz. Rode_and_Babe's comment about changing the Echo of Baine to the Echo of Garrosh seems like a great idea when looking back on things, but the reality of the development cycle probably would have quashed this quickly.
Just like how a commenter in a previous Two Bosses Enter thought that Hagara the Stormbinder was supposed to be Magatha Grimtotem but Blizzard changed their mind at the last second, I will also make a similar assumption and point out the Obvious.

The echo of Baine should of been the echo of Garrosh. It would make more sense to see this violent orc representing the emotion of hatred in the ruby sanctum and his dying breath would of ask his father's forgiveness, Gromm hellscream, for following in his footsteps would of made more sense. But nope! That would of made Garrosh too likeable to the general public and now he gotta be a future raid boss while we are stuck here with a angry Tauren who jumped the shark for the sake of plot convenience.
On the one hand, I agree about Garrosh. First off, I like Garrosh. Second, you could have the mechanics be the same except substitute the totem for Gorehowl. Whatever, I'm not here to critique that sort of thing.

On the other hand, the story's development cycle probably wasn't at that point yet to be honest. Not enough so that the inclusion of Garrosh as an Echo would have been the perfect way to introduce his downward spiral -- mostly because that was introduced long before Cataclysm.

Finally, Uredus' description of the fight gave the win to Sylvanas mostly because of the stunning debuff on the Wracking Pains ability. By slowing Baine down, the time it takes for him to escape the ghoul ring diminishes greatly. Baine's own abilities can basically work against him in some pretty damning ways.
Glad you enjoyed the Godfrey vs Mannoroth write-up! (Rai here, decided to switch to my Twitter username with this new-fangled comment system.)

Assuming this fight was in the Obsidian Dragonshire (as Sylvanas doesn't require a special arena for her mechanics to work) then there are a lot of key factors to consider. Does lava hurt the ghouls? I'm going to say yes.

The totem is the key thing here. With some clever timing (which Sylvanas is certainly capable of doing, even in her Echo form) Sylvanas could stun Baine with the totem, then cast the Wracking Pains ritual while Baine is unable to move. While it's unlikely that Baine would be stunned for the entire duration, it'd be difficult for him to take down the ghouls (even with minor lava damage) as his molten axe would have worn off.

Sylvanas's aforementioned abilities that allow her to jump into the air further throw this fight in her favour.
Good write-ups this week, gang. Let's pull out all of the stops for next week's matchup, since it is truly a fight between demigods.


Set aside the world order -- let the WoW Insider Ring determine who's the champion! Your votes determine the outcome in WoW Insider's series of fantasy deathmatches, Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves.
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Two Bosses Enter: Murozond vs. Mannoroth