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Cataclysm Dungeon Guide: Grim Batol

For some reason, I got Grim Batol more than any other dungeon in the Cataclysm beta. I would guess it was a popular place to go for ilevel 333 blues before setting foot in heroics, and chronologically, it's also the last normal dungeon you're likely to encounter.

There's an interesting quirk to the trash in Grim Batol. After a short clear (I would estimate the dungeon's first three "real" pulls, excepting the trogg mobs you'll swat in the antechamber), you'll have the opportunity to free red drakes who have been trapped. The drakes will thank you with a flight over most of the instance, and you can rain fire down on the heads of all the non-boss mobs you see.

A good group that coordinates the bombing will weaken or even eliminate a number of mobs. A bad group that puts in a half-assed effort will find itself with a number of full-strength mob packs standing between it and good loot.

Don't be bad.

General Umbriss

This fight, especially on heroic, is a bit of a gear check for your healer. The most important thing to remember about General Umbriss is a charge attack called Blitz. He will select random ranged party members for this, announce it, and shortly afterwards, charge them. From what I recall, this is huge damage on normal and insta-death on heroic. If you're the target, be sure to strafe from your current position as quickly as possible. If you're anyone else, make sure you're not in the way or so close to the attack area that you're likely to absorb it, either. If you've done Icehowl, you know the mechanic.

Healers need to watch for Bleeding Wound and get the tank above 90 percent as quickly as possible. Melee DPS and tanks should be on the lookout for Ground Siege and get out from around him as he casts.

The other thing you'll have to worry about is Umbriss' summoning of trogg mobs and his enrage effect past 30 percent. Burn the troggs down as quickly as possible because they have a stacking bleed debuff; ranged DPSers who can snare/root/kite them are the best at dealing with them, as their damage builds quickly on melee. As far as I remember, they don't really need to be tanked, and it may even be counterproductive to tank them, given how much damage the tank's already taking from Umbriss. On heroic, kiting them becomes more of a priority due to an "exploding" mob that'll spawn among them and how much damage they do.

Once Umbriss enrages at 30 percent, pop your cooldowns and go for broke.

Loot: Forgemaster Throngus

The most problematic aspect of the Throngus fight is that he paths through several pulls' worth of trash. If you don't see him as you emerge from the hallway after Umbriss, you're gambling that he'll aggro in the middle of the first mob pack (a distinct possibility while a group's in pre-heroic greens and blues and not killing very quickly). He's a large, ettin-type mob, so he's pretty easy to see even at a distance; use your best judgment as to when the first mob pack can be safely pulled.

Throngus is considerably easier than Umbriss and is basically the latter-day version of the first boss in Halls of Lightning. Periodically, he will swap to a new weapon, which will change how your group deals with him. Fortunately for you, this is announced, so it's never a surprise. If he dual wields swords, tank damage is about to skyrocket, particularly if the RNG's not on your side and he procs a few extra attacks. This would be a good time for tanks to pop a survivability cooldown on heroic. If he slaps on a shield, he'll summon archers who rain fire arrows down on the party, and the DPS will need to move behind him to do any damage at all. However, tank damage is negligible in this period. The most dangerous weapon is the mace because Throngus' damage will increase by 300 percent. Yes, you read that right. However, his speed will decrease by 70 percent for the interim. The tank, needless to say, has some kite work to get done here, but as long as you're running around at your normal speed, it should be almost impossible to get hit.

The only other thing you need to worry about is staying out of cave-in, so if you see rubble coming down on you, move out.

Loot: Drahga Shadowburner

This is a two-phase (well, technically three-phase, but the last phase is identical to the first) fight. Drahga is a caster-type boss who doesn't have a lot of health, but he does have a few tricks that'll compensate for it.

What you need to be worried about most is an ability called Invocation of Flame. Drahga will put a flame patch on the ground. The flame patch will summon an Invoked Flaming Spirit (it looks like one of the new, fancier fire elementals) that will focus on a random player and start moving toward him/her slowly. Should it reach the player, it'll explode for 50,000 damage plus a fire DoT. As soon as an Invoked Flaming Spirit appears, all DPS needs to switch to it immediately (unless you're a melee player and you've been targeted), unless you want to make your healer miserable. At level 84 to 85, which is around the time you'll be doing normal Grim Batol, every player should have the health pool to survive this if the Spirit isn't DPSed quickly enough, but healing 250,000+ damage on five players is ugly. Additionally, the Spirit's reaching a player on heroic is an insta-kill.

Once you've DPSed Drahga down to a certain point (I don't recall the health percentage, but it was sub-50 percent with my last Grim Batol group), he'll summon and mount Valiona, a Twilight Drake. Drahga himself will be immune to damage for the time that he's perched on Valiona's back, so it's the drake's abilities you'll be dealing with for a bit. Her two abilities are Shredding Swipe and Valiona's Flame. The former deals 100 percent weapon damage to the tank and leaves a void patch on the ground, so tanks will need to be vigilant for this. The latter is a frontal cone breath attack, so keep Valiona turned away from the group as well. Once Valiona is DPSed down to around 20 percent, he/she (I honestly can't remember which it is) will take off and leave Drahga to his fate. Drahga doesn't have any new abilities in phase 3, so just burn him down.

Loot: Erudax

Before you start this fight, pump the brightness on your monitor. You'll need to get to a safe spot on this fight quickly at least twice, and it can be a little tough to see if your screen's dark.

Erudax's most dangerous ability is Shadow Gale. This is a huge storm of shadow damage covering the entire room barring one fairly small circle -- the "eye of the storm," as it were. You will have 5 seconds from the start of the Shadow Gale cast to find and get to it. It looks like a small black circle with a light purple spell animation around it, and it will usually spawn close to a player. You will need to stay there for the duration of the storm, because anyone out in it will take a stacking amount of shadow damage. Even on normal, it's a huge amount of damage and difficult to heal through. However, there's a nice bonus to Shadow Gale; while Erudax is channeling it, he's unable to attack, so if you get to the eye on time, you've got a small window for free DPS.

During the beta, I found the eye tough to see as a tank if it spawned close to/behind Erudax, due to the size of his hitbox and his ability to cover even more of the screen with his cast animation and spell effects. What worked for me was using creative camera angles while the cast was approaching. Then again, I also play with a giant bear ass blocking even more of the screen, so this is perhaps less of a problem for other tanking classes. The circle wasn't tough to see while healing from range.

Erudax's three other abilities are Enfeebling Blow, Summon Faceless Corruptor, and Binding Shadows. Enfeebling Blow will knock the tank away and place a debuff increasing damage taken. However, the debuff wears off quickly, and the easiest way to deal with it is to wait for Erudax to catch up to you after the knockback; by the time he reaches you, it's usually off. As such, don't tank him with your back to a wall. The Faceless Corruptors summoned (on normal it'll only be one at a time) can't really be tanked. They'll attempt to hatch eggs which will spawn adds (bad) and also attempt to heal Erudax (also bad). DPS should switch to them immediately to keep either from happening. Finally, Binding Shadows is a randomly-targeted attack that will siphon life from the target and root anyone within 8 yards of them. While you'll want to spread out a bit to keep that from happening, don't spread out too much, or finding the Shadow Gale "eye" will be more difficult.

Loot:

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

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