Ready Check is a column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Vault of Archavon or Ulduar, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses.
So far, you've wrecked the Flame Leviathan. You euthanized Razorscale. You gave a cold shower to Ignis the Furnace Master. You marvelled at Deconstructor. When it came to Kologarn, you damned well shall pass. The Assembly of Iron said court was out of session, and Auriaya and her small legion of adds gave you no pause. You've asked Hodir, "Who's your Daddy?" You've entered the mountain, and tackled Thorim. You've beaten down the master of metal, Mimiron.
You've only got one more obstacle before the big finale.
At this point in Ulduar, I know what you're thinking. I know what I was thinking. I was thinking, "This is pretty good. I like this place. It's fun. But you know what it's missing? It's missing a giant frickin' bug. It needs a giant frickin' bug in service to the Old Ones, man." Don't worry. Blizzard has you covered. A giant bug in service to Old Ones, coming right up.
General Vezax is your last Big Bad before the final boss of Ulduar. As a result, he's got some very difficult tricks that you have to master. I mean, it's doable. You're the beastly-powerful raid that took down Mimiron. You can do this. You can do this.
We're going to look at his abilities first, as always:
- Aura of Despair - Prevents mana regeneration from nearly all natural sources. Aspect of the Viper, Judgements of the Wise, Shamanistic Rage, and Spiritual Attunement remain at least partially effective. Also reduces melee attack speed by 20%.
- Shadow Crash - Fires a shadow missile at a randomly chosen target, dealing Shadow damage to all enemies near the impact point and knocking them away. After impact, leaves an energy field that lingers for 20 seconds, increasing magical damage dealt by 100%, increasing casting speed by 100%, reducing healing done by 75%, and reducing mana costs by 75%. He will not cast this on players within 15 yards of him.
- Searing Flames - Searing Flames takes 2 seconds to cast, and must be interrupted. Deals jaw-dropping Fire damage to all enemies within 100 yards, superheating their armor and reducing its ability to protect them by 75% for 10 seconds. If you don't interrupt this ability, it's virtually a raid wipe.
- Surge of Darkness - Has a casting time of 3 seconds, so you should expect to see it slightly less than once a minute. This ability empowers Vezax with dark might, increasing physical damage by 100% but reducing movement speed by 55%, for 10 seconds.
- Mark of the Faceless - Inflicts an ancient malediction on a target, siphoning 5,000 health every second from enemies near the target, for 10 seconds. Heals General Vezax for each tick. He will not cast this on players within 15 yards of him. However, if there are no such targets outside the 15 yards, he'll cast it on your melee folks anyway.
- Saronite Vapors - Keep an eye out for the floating green ball, called Saronite Vapors. It floats around the room once its spawned, but Death Knights can Death Grip it to the raid. Up to eight of these crystals will spawn. When destroyed, a green puddle is formed on the ground. Players who stand in this puddle will take Shadow Damage, but also regenerate mana. (This is significant since Aura of Despair is keeping you from taking advantage of most mana replenishment.)
Aura of Despair is the defining ability for the fight against Vezax. It prevents most of your mana-regeneration abilities from having much effect. As a result, your team needs to be on point about the Saronite Vapors. Use a Death Knight to Death Grip the crystals to a convenient placement, and punk drop the green puddle by destroying the crystal. Your mana-needing folks stand in the puddle until they have about 5 stacks or so. (5 stacks are getting you 1,600 mana every two seconds, but you're taking 1600DPS.) Try and time your vapor use, however, so that you always have a crystal available for use. (They're limited in number.)
Searing Flames must be interrupted. It's going to be bad, bad news for your tank if you let it get cast. With a leisurely 2 second cast, though, none of your usual interrupters should have any trouble with that.
Surge of Darkness looks pretty scary, but you just need to have a cooldown ready to handle it. It pops about once every minute, and just heal through.
Mark of the Faceless is your usual "don't stand in this" test, but slightly modified to "don't stand next to the guy with Mark of the Faceless." (C'mon, he's faceless. You'd not want to cuddle up to that anyway, right?) For this reason, most raids like to spread out a bit, giving everyone room to get away from the freakish, faceless monstrosity you've become.
When Shadow Crash hits someone, get your big spell-based DPS inside the black puddle left behind. While inside the black puddle, your raid members will get a big casting speed and damage bonus. Healers want to stay out, however, since it will also reduce the amount of healing you do.
A lot of this fight will depend on your raid's ability to position intelligently and react quickly. Nothing that Vezax does individually is unique and new to you. You've stood in buff-giving circles before, dodged void zones, and gotten away from explosive raid members. The trick here is to do it all at once.
This is just reflexes and practice. You can get it, I have faith in you. Good luck!
Ready Check is here to provide you all the information and discussion you need to bring your raiding to the next level. Check us out weekly to learn the strategies, bosses, and encounters that make end-game raiding so much fun.