Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, it's all about shadow.
Six down, three to go. Our next Black Temple boss guide looks at a lady with more arms than should be strictly comfortable, Mother Shahraz.
Upon killing the last of the previous three bosses, which can be killed in any order -- Teron Gorefiend, the Reliquary of Souls and Gurtogg Bloodboil -- you'll see a message indicating that the door to the Den of Mortal Delights has been opened. This means it's time to pay a visit to Mother, although you don't need to iron your shirt for this particular drop-in.
What you will need, however, is shadow resistance -- and lots of it. The encounter is primarily resistance-based, and requires the epic craftable shadow resistance gear. This in turn requires Hearts of Darkness, which drop from Black Temple (and occasionally Hyjal) trash, so if you've blazed through the instance so far, chances are you won't have enough to kit out your raid group.
Your options are to either buy hearts off the auction house, or off Sunwell guilds who no longer need them, or to put together trash farming runs (Mother's trash can be done with a smallish group) on offdays. Or, of course, to combine the two. I'm not going to go into detail as to how you might obtain the cash to buy hearts off a guild that wants to milk you for all you're worth, but perhaps selling BoE epics from Kazzak and Doomwalker, raid spots to tier 5 content, bear runs, epic gems or even a Karazhan boost might help your funds.
Shadow Resistance and You
You ideally want every member of the raid, save tanks, to be in capped shadow resistance (that's 365). Assuming you have a priest who can buff Prayer of Shadow Protection, this requires 295 shadow resistance from gear. The epic craftable patterns available through Ashtongue Deathsworn reputation from the 'teleport' vendor will bring you to this cap, but there are a few creative ways you can reach the maximum if you're short on hearts.
Neck - Medallion of Karabor (40SR)
Every raid member should have this; it's gained from completing the Black Temple quest line. This involves finishing The Ata'mal Terrace, then talking to a NPC in Serpentshrine Cavern who appears once Fathom Lord Karathress is dead. After a back-and-forth to SMV, it's off to Al'ar in Tempest Keep (wearing a very fetching disguise), then a quick jaunt to Rage Winterchill in Mount Hyjal before you finally finish up outside Black Temple itself. This hop-on-hop-off tour of raid content rewards you with a fetching shadow resistance neckpiece.
Fortunately, you should have cleared all these bosses at some point on the way to Mother, or be able to organise a quick run to the tier 5 instances to get the quest done -- as partial motivation, when you down Illidan the necklace gets upgraded with a teleport direct to the gates of Black Temple. Having a second almost-hearthstone with a 15-minute cooldown is pretty nifty.
Back - Night's End (40SR)
This tailored cloak requires one Heart of Darkness (along with a void crystal, 2 primal life, 2 primal shadow and a bolt of imbued netherweave). Cheap as chips, comparatively, and something every raid member should get crafted -- you might find that wearing shadow resistance cloaks on other fights (such as Kaz'rogal, Azgalor and Hex Lord Malacrass) helps a lot, so get these sooner rather than later.
Bracers, Boots, Belt and Legs
These vary by armor type -- there's a cloth, leather, mail and plate set -- but there are a few common factors. Firstly, the material requirements:
- Bracers (40 SR): 1 HoD, 1 void, 2 primal life, 2 primal shadow
- Boots (54 SR): 2 HoD, 1 void, 2 primal life, 4 primal shadow
- Belt (54 SR): 2 HoD, 1 void, 3 primal life, 4 primal shadow
- Legs (72 SR): 3 HoD, 1 void, 4 primal life, 6 primal shadow
The final ingredient in all of these varies by armor type: imbued netherweave for cloth, fel hide for leather, fel scales for mail and adamantite bars for plate.
Due to the 'expensive' nature of legs, these are often made last or not at all if you're short on hearts. If you've been counting up, we're at exactly 300 shadow resistance unbuffed with all the gear listed so far, so technically you don't need anything else. However, if we're skipping the 72 shadow resistance granted by legs, there are a few ways you can get to 295 regardless:
- Enchant Cloak - Greater Shadow Resistance. This adds 15 SR to your Night's End, at a high price. It's worth getting if you need the resistance, though.
- Shadow Armor Kit. Not really worth it unless you need that extra push, adding it to your shadow resistance boots makes sense, though removing main enchants on normal items for it isn't really recommended.
- ... Of Shadow Protection and Glyph of Shadow Warding. The auction house is your friend; one shadow resistance green item, ideally hat, can negate the need for those three hearts and still bring you up to the cap. If you manage to pick up a level 65+ green hat 'of shadow protection' and slap the enchant on it, that's 50-60 shadow resistance from one item; alternatively, use an older hat with the SR enchant, and find a green item for another slot.
The standard shadow resistance kit requires 9 hearts of darkness, 5 voids, 13 primal life and 18 primal shadow; the 'legs-free' approach requires 6 hearts, 4 voids, 9 life, 12 shadow and 90g for the hat glyph, plus however much an auction house green might cost you. The cloak enchant's an additional 8 primal shadow and 4 large prismatic shards, and is farmed from Voidshriekers around Manaforge Ultris in Netherstorm.
The fight itself
Enough gear chat, let's talk about the boss. Your main setup will contain three tanks and eight or so healers while learning (as you outgear the encounter, as with others, you can bring fewer healers).
Mother Shahraz has a frontal ability, Saber Lash, which hits up to three targets and divides the damage between them -- so you'll need three tanks in front of her at all times. However, you only need one of the tanks to actively tank (you know, build aggro etc) so the other two can literally /afk once they've hit her a couple of times to ensure she will lash them. She enrages at 10%, dealing extra damage, so that's a good time to use your survivability cooldowns.
The most dangerous aspect of the fight is an ability called Fatal Attraction. Mother will cast this on up to three targets at a time, and it teleports them to the same spot, chaining them together with beams that break when the attracted targets move a certain distance away from each other. Until the beams break, they deal damage to everyone nearby, including the targets themselves. This basically boils down to: if you get teleported, run away from everyone else as soon as possible.
One problem you might run into here is people running the same way, claiming on their screen they were each the one in front; this is down to client-server interactions and the best way to get around it is to simply run in a different direction, not the same way as other people. Some people learn the art of running away more easily than others -- there are mods that can raid-mark or produce onscreen arrows showing you where to run, but some people find these more a hindrance than a help.
Tanks aren't valid targets for Fatal Attraction, so they don't need to be capped in shadow resistance (your main tank in particular will probably want to wear their usual tank gear). Having a little shadow resistance on your offtanks can help when you get ports near the tanking spot, but you shouldn't need more than around 200 buffed for this. If you're low on hearts you can try just keeping the offtanks in tank gear, but be careful if you get ports near them.
Mother's other abilities, in practice, all condense to make this a tank and spank fight with added running away. She throws around damaging beams to raid members, sometimes throwing people into the air, and also has some nasty (or nice) spell auras that reduce her damage taken by certain spell schools but increase damage taken from others. This really just means you need to watch your threat, damage and health throughout the fight.
Positioning-wise, there is no set layout. The most common positioning seems to be to simply use the path through her room, with one melee camp, one ranged camp and tanks in front of the boss. This allows a lot of free space for running away from ports. Alternatively she can be tanked against a wall, or you can split your ranged into multiple camps -- this means you take less damage if there is a port on the raid, but it does make it a lot more likely to happen.
A fairly common source of wipes is people being ported near the raid and not running away fast enough, leading to increasing numbers of dead people. When learning the fight, it can be useful to hand out Major Shadow Protection Potions or use a Cauldron, and use them liberally. It's also important to use healthstones and be aware of your position and health.
The Ready Check
- Is everyone wearing their shadow resist gear?
- Did you bring a cauldron and resist pots (if needed)?
- Does everyone know what to do if they get Fatal Attraction?