Thursday, August 6, 2009

Simple guide to the Northrend Beasts in 3.2's new raid

The only boss encounter currently available in WoW's new raid instance is the "Northrend Beasts". It consists of 3 different boss fights chained together (with only a few seconds in between), essentially creating one 3-phase boss. Here's a guide to handling this battle in 10-man normal mode. Bring 2 tanks and 2-3 healers (I'd recommend 3 to start out with).

Phase 1: Gormok the Impaler

He's a Magnataur. He throws snobolds at you.

Executive Summary:
Tank him in the middle of the room. Assign two dps to kill Snobolds. Have tanks switch (taunt) at 3 stacks of the debuff. Move (do I really have to say this?) out of the patches of fire.

TL;DR version:
Once you talk to the organizer by the entrance, that wuss runs out and Gormok emerges from the big gate on the other side of the arena. Tank him in the middle of the room, and have the raid spread out behind him. He will drop fire patchs on the ground under random people. Move out of them. Every once in a while he'll pull a little Snobold (little rat-person) out of his pocket (Ed. note: what pocket?!?) and throw it on a raid member, hindering them. Assign two of your dps to remove these snobold hats ASAP. They should make the following macro:

/tar Snobold

Ranged dps are better for this, but melee works fine too.

The boss does an aoe stun in a small radius around himself, so don't stand near him unless you have to.

Every 10 seconds, he will add a stack of an undispellable Impale debuff to the current tank (the icon looks like a spear). Have your other tank taunt the boss once it reaches 3 stacks. 30 seconds later, tank 1's stack will wear off and tank 2 will have 3 stacks, so have tank 1 taunt it back. Repeat until he's dead.

Remind your healers that the debuff still does a large DoT even if the boss is no longer targeting that tank.

Pro tip: Gormok is disarmable. He cannot apply the debuff while disarmed, so you can slow the dot stacking that way.

Phase 2: Acidmaw & Dreadscale (aka Poison One and Bile One)

This is the "not one but two jormungar worms" of internet meme legend. You fight them both at once. At all times, one of them will be half-burrowed (sticking stationary out of the ground) and one will be loose and mobile. They both burrow and switch roles every 30 seconds or so.

Executive Summmary: Have a tank on each Worm, and face both of them away from the raid. The tank should kite the mobile worm backwards around the outer part of the room, a la Grobbulus. Spread the raid out between the two worms. All dps should be on the worm that is mobile. When Acidmaw is loose, anyone in the raid who gets the Burning Bile debuff must run to the tank (avoiding the rest of the raid if possible) to dispel the Parlytic poison from the tank. When Dreadscale is loose, anyone who gets Parlytic poison must run toward the tank who has the Burning Bile ticking on him. The Burning Bile ticks minor aoe damage (2-3k) in a radius around the debuffed player, and ticks of that damage will dispel the Parlytic poison. It can be removed by standing in one of the poison clouds. Make sure that you kill Acidmaw first, but only when Dreadscale is very low on health.

TL;DR version:
At best, you'll get a few ticks of drinking done in between Gormok and these guys.

The burrowed worm acts as an immobile turret, and should be treated a lot like Mimiron's head. Point him away from the raid. My group had a warlock tank this using Searing Pain. I've read of other groups using a traditional tank on the burrowed worm, but I found myself getting knocked back a lot when trying this. Either way probably works. The image to the right is not the same color as either boss, but it's there to give you an idea of what the worms look like when half-burrowed. They will be stationary, but most of their body is still visible.

Whichever worm is not burrowed will be free to move around like a traditional mob. Have your main tank pick it up and face it at an angle away from the raid. The loose worm will drop a poison cloud just like Grobbulus, so the tank will need to back up periodically to move the worm out of these clouds.

The raid should gather loosely in between the two worms. Every time they switch roles, they will burrow underground then re-emerge in random locations, so the raid needs to be alert and figure out where to move on the fly. The worms have a frontal cone and leave the clouds behind them, so make sure all ranged and healers stay behind the burrowed worm and to the side of the loose worm.

The gimmick to this fight is the interaction between Paralytic Bite (applied by Acidmaw) and Burning Bile (applied by Dreadscale). The Paralytic Bite is a one-minute-duration poison that increases in damage-per-tick the longer it is applied (will eventually kill you) and also slows the victim the longer it remains up, immobilizing them completely after about 20 seconds. The Burning Bile is a DoT that damages the victim and anyone within 10 or so yards every time it ticks (for about 2-3k). Getting hit with a tick of this is the only way to dispel Paralytic Bite (aside from Divine Protection for Paladins and Ice Block for mages).

Whichever worm is in turret mode will randomly apply their respective debuff to members of the raid every 20 seconds or so. They target one raider, but the debuff has an aoe application, meaning that if your raiders are too close together, more than one person will get the debuff. So spread out. Meanwhile, whichever worm is mobile will periodically apply its debuff to its current target, i.e. your tank. So you'll either have poisoned raid members who need to get close to a tank who is ticking the Bile, or you have biled raid members who need to dispel the paralysis from the tank.

There are a number of ways to deal with this. What I suspect most raids will do is have any raid member who gets debuffed simply run to the tank, dispel, then run back (making a detour to a poison cloud to dispel Bile if needed). Since we already had two tanks anyway, we took some pressure off our healers by having the offtank taunt the mobile worm whenever the main tank was hit with the debuff. Then the main tank would move toward the raid to dispel/be dispelled. This spread the damage out a bit too, since the original tank was no longer taking melee damage and the new tank didn't have a dot ticking while holding the boss. It also made it a lot easier for raid members slowed by Parlytic Bite to reach the Biled tank.

Also, keep in mind it's beneficial for the group to stack up when Dreadscale is loose, but dangerous to do so when Acidmaw is loose (since random raiders get the aoe Bile). The simplest solution may be to always group up, because it makes it easier to reach a Biled tank while slowed if you aren't spread out, and the Bile dot is small enough that it shouldn't be dangerous, provided your raiders can move out of the group fast enough (see: XT-002).

Since Paralytic Bite cannot be dispelled except by Bile, you must kill Acidmaw first, and make sure all Bites are dispelled before killing Dreadscale. However, once you kill one of them, the remaining worm enrages, so don't finish Acidmaw until Dreadscale is low on health.

Phase 3: Icehowl

Icehowl is a giant Yeti. Fighting him is very simple, but he's a heavy-hitter.

Executive Summary: tank him with your back to the wall and the raid spread out in a half-circle behind him. When he knocks everyone back and stuns them, be ready to immediately strafe sideways if he emotes that he is targeting you or someone near you. Blow cooldowns while he is stunned after running into the wall. If he kills someone and enrages, have your hunter tranq shot it.

Click here for specifics on all the boss abilities, courtesy of
Because I'm borrowing their picture so you better give them some traffic!

TL;DR version:
Icehowl is only dangerous because he hits hard. The fight is almost entirely a tank and spank.

Your tank should put his/her back to the wall to mitigate Icehowl's knockback. The raid should spread out in a half-circle behind/to the side of him. Melee should stand apart from each other as well. Think Anub'Rekhan in Naxx.

Every 20 seconds or so he'll blow freezing breath toward a random raid member. This is just like the ability of the trash leading up to Hodir. It freezes anyone in the cone it touches (thus the spreading out).

A few times during the fight (I didn't time it, but this first phase lasted about a minute each time) he'll stomp the ground, stunning the entire raid and knocking you all back against the wall behind wherever you happen to be standing. He will emote that he's focusing on one of you, and when the stun wears off you have only about 2 seconds to strafe to the side (you get a speed boost during this time). He'll hop back, then charge right at where you were. He will insta-kill anyone who is still in front of him when he reaches the wall, even if they weren't the intended target, so your raid needs to be aware of who is near them and whether they need to move. If he hits someone, he'll turn red and enrage, and you'll need to immediately dispel this with Tranq Shot or Anesthetic Poison, because your tank probably won't survive this. Since we had two tanks for the other phases anyway, we just had an offtank at the ready in case he did this and killed the main tank. If Icehowl misses, he'll comically hit the wall and stun himself for about 20 seconds, taking double damage the whole time. Use this opportunity to Bloodlust and blow your cooldowns to dps him. Once the stun wears off, the main phase resumes, so get back in position.

Finish him, and collect your ilevel 232 loot that dwarfs anything you could get outside of Uld 25 hard modes!

I'd gauge this encounter as roughly as difficult as Freya normal mode. Go go loot pinata!

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