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Patch 5.2 PTR: Crushing the Council of Elders

Matt Low

Thought you saw the last of Gara'jal in Mogushan Vaults, did you?

Yeah, so did I. Mogu'shan Vaults was merely a setback!

The Council of Elders is the third encounter in the Throne of Thunder. I surmise it's the whole leadership of the Troll empire right there looking to stop your raid team from progressing any further into the compound.

As you can guess, this encounter is the first council-type encounter of the raid. They'll have to handle the various abilities and spells that the Council is dishing out while slowly whittling them all down. They don't have a shared pool so you do you have your work cut out for you. Now there are going to be a ton of things going on but your raid should be able to pick up on the different abilities without too much of a hassle.

The Spirit of Gara'jal will possess a counselor at random. He upgrades their abilities and they proceed to generate Dark Energy. If their Dark Energy reaches 100, that counselor starts casting Dark Power every second inflicting 10000 Shadow damage across the board to all players. It also increases the damage by 10% per cast. The only way to rid a counselor of Gara'jal's spirit is to knock out 25% of their health. Do that, their Dark Energy resets to 0, and Gara'jal's spirit will move on to a different one until you repeat the process. There's an added bonus of the Lingering Presence which increases damage done by the counselor by 10% and increases the rate of Dark Energy generated by 10%.

Frost King Malakk

The first counselor is Frost King Malakk. He's the leader of the remaining Drakkari and represents the frost trolls. He'll rely on the colder elements to try to finish your raid. Frigid Assault is a tank switch ability. Malakk imbues his weapons with ice and his melee attacks will cause 75k damage to his target. Each melee attack applies that Frigid Assault. If it reaches 15 stacks, the tank will get stunned. Periodically, the Frost King will dunk a player completely in ice and deal 85k damage to them. Biting Cold forces the player to deal 85000 damage to anyone within 4 yards every 2 seconds for 30 seconds.

Patch 52 PTR Crushing the Council of Elders

Spirit of Gara'jal ability: Frostbite hits a player for about 100k and they'll have 5 stacks of the aforementioned debuff. Each stack will be reduced by 1 for every player within 4 yards of the frostbitten player. On 10-man, the stack is reduced by 2 for every player. The Frostbite stacks can't go below 1.


Kazra'jin just likes to run around all over the place. He'll use Reckless Charge on a player. Anyone near the unlucky charge target gets knocked back slightly when he finishes landing. You can see Kazra'jin charge from the bottom left to the player to the top right (along with that vicious looking lightning trail).

Patch 52 PTR Crushing the Council of Elders

Spirit of Gara'jal ability: After Reckless Charge goes off, Kazra'jin will Overload. He stuns himself for 20 seconds and then reflects all damage taken as Nature. This is where you just want to stop DPS.

Sul the Sandcrawler

Sul will be flinging Sand Bolts at random players which will hit anyone in the area for 150k. As if you didn't need another reason to stay spread out, right? Sul will also summon pools of Quicksand at the locations of random players. Anyone caught within the pool gets a stack of the Ensnared debuff. If it reaches 5 stacks, they become Entrapped (but it is dispellable).

Patch 52 PTR Crushing the Council of Elders

Spirit of Gara'jal ability: Sul will overwhelm your raid with "phat" beats and the sound of techno by Darude Sandstorm. It's a massive AoE that your raid is going to have to heal through. You're looking at 35000 damage per second for 8 seconds. Not only that, those Quicksand pools become animated and they'll turn into Living Sand creatures. When you kill them, they turn back into Quicksand pools again. Any Living Sand creatures that are active while a Sandstorm is occurring becomes Fortified. Those are a top priority.

High Priestess Mar'li

I knew she looked familiar. Mar'li was the original spider boss in the first iteration of Zul'Gurub. I thought we neutralized her the first time but it seems she's returned to serve as the Gurubashi representative and relies heavily on spirits. Wrath of the Loa is Mar'li's basic attack. Blessed Loa Spirit is an add that gets summoned to her location. The Spirit will start moving towards the counselor with the lowest remaining health. The counselor will be healed for 5% of their maximum health if the spirit isn't killed before then. If it's still alive after 20 seconds, they'll transport instantly and heal that 5%.

Patch 52 PTR Crushing the Council of Elders

A Loa can take on different forms. In this one, it was a spider but I've also seen snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

Spirit of Gara'jal ability: When Mar'li is possessed, Wrath of the Loa gets upgraded and it'll do a little more damage compared to normal. The biggest change is the Loa Spirit. The Shadowed Loa Spirit will switch and go after players. If it closes to within 6 yards, the Spirit instantly kills them.

Tip: Either of the two Loa Spirits can be stunned and slowed. Use this to your advantage. They did seem to suffer from diminishing returns so do space them out.

Overall approach

Prioritizing your DPS is the key.

Mar'li's Loa spirits have a 20 second clock before their healing/killing effects kick in. You should have one tank assigned to her anyway and they'll be responsible for alerting the raid when a spirit is up. Our ranged players instantly shifted to it and punished it (melee players should help to if they're within range).

The second priority is managing the Living Sands. Focus your AoE spells on them and get them out of the way when they're up.

If neither of the above adds are in play, then your DPS should be focused on the counselor that's being possessed by Gara'jal. You can recognize them easily based on the color of their model -- They go dark and transparent (similar to shadow priests). Gara'jal jumps away every 25% to a different counselor. Multi-dot classes are going to have a field day with this encounter.

Healers should employ a type of zone defense. Spread yourselves out and heal the players that happen to be near your area. One healer should always help with Malakk's current tank target.

Our attempts utilized three tanks. I can't remember which tank had the extra counselor but two are needed to help handle Malakk's Frigid Assault. Kazra'jin just seems to charge around every so often anyway and he can get picked up by whichever tank is nearest. Sul and Mar'li don't appear to have any tank specific attacks. Make sure Mar'li is positioned away from the other three counselors to buy time for the Loa Spirit to be killed. I expect there to be some additional tuning adjustments made. We pulled and defeated them after about 4 or so attempts. It's also the first encounter of the instance that drops tier gear.

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