Teron Gorefiend is usually the fourth boss players face in Black Temple and is really the first one to prove difficult in any way. While guilds new to the attunement-free Black Temple might have breezed their way through High Warlord Naj'entus, Supremus and the Shade of Akama, we're seeing many run into a standstill when they face Teron. Even those clearing Black Temple for the first time last year had some difficulty on the fight, so this Ready Check aims to look more closely at the fight and help out raiders who might be stuck on it even today.
You first encounter Teron Gorefiend in Shadowmoon Valley, during the popular 'Spectrecles' questline. We won't spoil the quests for those who might not have done them, but suffice it to say Teron is now un-alive and well in Black Temple. To get to him from the Shade of Akama, wait for the Ashtongue mobs to turn neutral ('Hail Akama!' yells ring out), return to the courtyard where you fought trash prior to Akama and go right. A repair, reagent and rep vendor is unlocked at the back of the courtyard, if you detour, otherwise continue through to a flight of stairs and some Shadowmoon Champions plus friends.
Gorefiend's trash isn't too tricky and can be done with two tanks and CC, although be careful of patrols and adds. When you're done with these mobs you'll find yourselves standing in a room with Teron alone on a platform at the other end. Ready for some fun? Let's take a look at what he does.
Teron hits the main tank fairly hard -- okay, he's not Brutallus, but it's still a fair bit of damage. From WWS logs, his average hits on warrior and paladin tanks are around 6.7k, though he can crush too. He also deals out various forms of magic damage: Incinerate, a randomly targeted fire DoT that's dispellable; Crushing Shadows, which affects up to 5 people and increases shadow damage taken by 60%; and Doom Blossoms, summoned clouds that fly above the raid and shoot down a lot of randomly targeted shadow damage.
These abilities simply mean you need half-decent raid healing, but the spell Teron is most known for is an entirely different kettle of fish. Shadow of Death is a debuff placed upon a random player every 30 seconds. The debuff itself lasts for 55 seconds, and when that time runs out or the player dies, whichever is sooner, the player becomes a ghost, with various abilities on their pet bar. Four Shadowy Constructs spawn around the player -- these are only killable by ghosts, so the player has to pilot their ghost and use the abilities it has to kill the constructs. However, you're only a ghost for 60 seconds, and the constructs move quite quickly towards the raid, where they pose a danger to raid members who cannot fight back, so you need to act swiftly and accurately to ensure the constructs die and nobody else does. We'll talk about how to do this a little later.
This is the crux of the fight. Beyond the ghosts, it's a tank and spank encounter with a bit of raid damage. However, a few slip-ups from a ghosted player and you'll soon find yourself wiping to constructs in the raid; since anyone other than the main tank can get Shadow of Death, this places a new kind of pressure on everyone else in the raid.
Positioning and Strategy
There are two common approaches to positioning; either tank him roughly where he is with the raid on the platform, and run to the doorway when you get the debuff, or vice versa. The aim is to have the death spot for Shadow of Death as far away as possible from the raid, so the ghosted player has plenty of time to kill their constructs before they reach the raid. When you have about 25-20 seconds left on your Shadow of Death debuff, run to the assigned spot and get ready for the ghost phase. Healers should be particularly aware of the health of those marked for death, as they spawn their constructs if they die in the raid.
Once a player's time as a ghost ends, that player dies, so you can use soulstones (applied when they get the debuff), combat resses and ankhs to bring those players back into the game. There are no hard and fast rules on this; it makes sense for any shamans marked to ankh, for a druid marked to resurrect someone before they die, and for the first few people to be soulstoned (or you can save them for healers). Generally while learning, you can't expect everyone to do their constructs perfectly, so leave these until you're fairly confident it will be a kill.
Shadow of Death: Ghost strategy
Everyone in the raid needs to learn how to do ghosts, even the main tank -- you might be DPSing one day! Getting it right comes faster to some people than others, so have patience on those who make mistakes.. at first. Someone who consistently cannot perform the task of killing their constructs is a liability and shouldn't be in the raid for this boss. This is really the first taste of personal accountability a lot of people have, other than simply running away from things, and it can be very stressful -- so raid leaders have a challenge in how they deal with underperforming players. However, this sort of accountability crops up later in other fights and is a theme in Sunwell too, so it's worth getting used to.
Firstly, ensure you're in the right spot for ghosts. Depending where your raid positions itself, this will either be on the platform where Teron initially stands or by the door where you enter the room -- whichever it is, you'll need as much distance as possible between yourself and the raid so you have time to kill your constructs. Move out of the raid when your debuff reaches around 25 seconds remaining, keep yourself alive until it wears off and get ready for the ghost phase.
As soon as you become a ghost you need to act swiftly. You gain a pet bar which allows you to use the ghost's abilities; ensure before the pull that you have a functioning pet bar in your UI, or, if your bar mod replaces your action bar with the pet bar, that it works. You can test this on quests such as (ironically) Teron Gorefiend, I Am..., Discovering your Roots or the Shartuul event.
The abilities on the pet bar that you'll use to kill constructs are in slots 3, 4 and 5. 3 is Spirit Lance, 4 is Spirit Chains (Shackle) and 5 is Spirit Volley (AoE).
- Spirit Volley is an AoE damaging attack and should be the first ability you use, closely followed by:
- Spirit Chains shackles the constructs in place, giving you time to target and apply:
- Spirit Lance slows the constructs down, so it's vital you apply this to each construct in turn to prevent one escaping the group and dashing off towards the raid. Tab-targeting isn't too accurate for this, so enable nameplates (press 'v' by default) and click the constructs in order.
The Teron Gorefiend Simulator is a well-known Flash equivalent of the ghosts phase; although from experience the simulator is harder than the actual fight, it's a great way to get a feel for what will happen the first time you get ghosts. It's also good for throwing at the people who routinely make mistakes so they can practice in a safer environment than your actual raid.
This instructional video is also well worth watching before your first raid.
Tip: Keybindings make this process a lot faster. To set keybindings directly for your pet bar, go into the keybindings options and look at "Secondary Action Button". 3, 4 and 5 are the ones you need to have bound -- the defaults are Ctrl-3, Ctrl-4 and Ctrl-5. Alternatively, you can make macros and put them on your action bar somewhere (I do this as I'm a feral druid and don't need my caster form abilities much). A sample macro is simply:
Change the 3 to 4 and 5 in separate macros, then pop those on your bars and you're sorted. Bear in mind there are other ways to do this (feel free to share yours in the comments!) and whatever works for a guildie or friend might work for you. Another source of some contention is the order of abilities; some people swear by using the Spirit Chains first, especially those with a fair bit of lag, so you ensure your constructs don't rush off.
Even with all the preparation in the world, the first time someone has to kill constructs is a stressful and accident-prone experience. Accept that people will get it wrong and that it will cause wipes, but watch out for people who consistently fail. You may need to tone down your raid leading technique, too -- while many people are okay with being called retards for clicking three buttons in the wrong sequence, others will crack up and just make more mistakes as a result.
After learning attempts, and once most people have had a chance to learn how to do ghosts, you should get to a point where your first few ghosts go smoothly, you soulstone the people Shadowed and miraculously Teron dies. Congratulations, you now have to do that every week!