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Blood Pact: Warlocks in Blackwing Descent, part 2

Every week (when the regular warlock writer hasn't been eaten by a prince of hell or something, that is), WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology and destruction warlocks. For those who disdain the watered-down arts that other cling to like a safety blanket, for those willing to test their wills against the nether and claim the power that is their right, Blood Pact welcomes you and invites you to take a seat.

Greetings once again, my dark cousins. It is time once again to dive back into the world of raiding an undead dragon's lair; I was rather hoping to be done with the whole undead part. In case you missed it, check back in with part 1 of our warlocks in Blackwing Descent guide to see how to deal with the first set of bosses within the instance.

Now that we're finally in the correct instance, there are still a few more bosses that need to be cleaned up, not the least of which is Nefarian himself. A key thing to note about Nef before we actually get into details about the encounter: He is a pretty tough fight, being the last encounter of the instance and all, and it may be possible that your raid is not yet prepared for him at this time. You may find it better to actually go out and try your hand at the other bosses in Bastion of Twilight or Throne of Four Winds instead, if you are struggling against the undead dragon.

Maloriak

Maloriak is the ... interesting scientist under Nefarian's employ, and he's also responsible for the creation of the several of the other encounters that you'll come across in the instance. Fighting him, though, will pit you against several of his creations as well.

Before going into the specifics of the encounter, there is one thing that should be mentioned. Maloriak requires rather high AoE DPS in order to complete. Affliction and destruction don't have terrible AoE, but demonology is certainly far and away better. In a 25-man setting, you may have enough other high-AoE players that you can stay with your preferred spec, but in a 10-man, you may find that you almost have to go demonology in order to be successful.

As for the encounter itself, it is split into four different phases. At first, there is a repeating cycle of three phases, with the last phase starting once you hit 25%. Each of the first three phases begins once Maloriak tosses a vial into his cauldron in the back of the room; which phase he enters depends on the color of the vial that is thrown. The first two phases will be red or blue -- which he goes for is random, but he will always do one of each -- and the third phase will be green. There are also two abilities that he has which are used in all phases.
  • Arcane Storm An AoE ability that will hit everyone in the raid; needs to be interrupted.
  • Release Aberrations An ability that will cause several adds to spawn. It can be interrupted, but you don't want to do this every time. He will cast this at least four times per cycle, sometimes more. You want this to complete casting at least three times.
Both of these abilities can be slowed with Curse of Tongues. It's probably a good idea to have someone apply this or a similar debuff to assist with interrupts.

Red phase
If Maloriak tosses a red vial into the cauldron, the first thing that your raid needs to do is to group up in the middle of the room.This phase has higher raid damage, but it is honestly the easiest of the phases. During this phase, Maloriak will gain two new abilities.
  • Scorching Blast Deals high amounts of fire damage in a cone in front of the caster. The damage is split between all targets, which is why everyone needs to be grouped up.
  • Consuming Flames A debuff that is placed on random players that increases fire damage taken. These players need to get out of the group and avoid getting hit by Scorching Blast.
Just remain grouped up; if you get Consuming Flames, then teleport out of the group to safety, and DPS the boss down.

Blue phase If Maloriak tosses a blue vial into the cauldron, then everyone in the raid needs to spread out from each other. The abilities in this phase are more targeted toward single raid members, and the damage that they deal is fairly light. Just as before, there are two new abilities to worry about.
  • Biting Chill A debuff that gets placed on a single raid member that deals frost damage to them and everyone around them. You should already be spread out enough to avoid this hitting multiple people.
  • Flash Freeze Puts a random raid member -- and anyone near them -- in an ice block. The block needs to be killed, but it has very low health, so it should drop fast.
The phase is fairly simple as well. Focus on the boss as much as you possibly can, and burst out blocks as they come up. Just stay spread out, and you will do fine.

Green phase At the start of the phase, Maloriak will coat everyone in the room, including himself and the adds, with Debilitating Slime. You then have 15 seconds to kill any adds that you have up; if you don't, then they will regain Growth Catalyst and take virtually no damage. This is when high AoE is important. There are a total of 18 adds, and you should deal with 9 each green phase that need to be killed.

Use any and all burst abilities that you have in order to kill the adds as quickly as possible.

End of the game At 25%, Maloriak will cast Release All Minions as well as summoning two Prime Subjects. If you haven't killed the adds during the previous green phases, then you are probably going to run into some issues keeping your off-tank alive. Maloriak himself gains three additional abilities.
  • Magma Jets Casts on his current target, dealing fire damage and knocking the target into the air. Also leaves behind flames on the floor. The tank should have the boss facing the wall to prevent these from spreading out in the room.
  • Absolute Zero Summons a frost orb that will drop to the ground and explode. Avoid these to reduce raid damage.
  • Acid Nova A raid-wide AoE ability that needs to be healed through.
All you need to do is go all-out on the boss. Aside from his standard 6-minute Enrage timer, you also have to deal with downing the boss before Magma Jets fill the room. Use all cooldowns during this phase.

Atramedes

Atramedes is the blind dragon who really has no business being killed. I mean, seriously -- he's not guarding anything, he's not blocking the way, he's just sort of there ... and we go in to beat him up like a bully stealing lunch money. It's cruel.

The dragon's primary abilities deal with sound, and everyone in the raid gets a sound bar for this encounter. If your sound reaches 100, then you get killed -- simple as that. Gaining some sound is unavoidable, but most of it is.
  • Modulation Sends out a pulse that damages all raid members and increases their sound by 7. Does more damage the more sound you have.
  • Sonar Pulse Little swirlies that are set free after Modulation. They float towards a random raid member's previous location and increase sound by 7 for every second they touch you.
  • Sonic Breath Targets a random raid member and, well, is a giant sonic beam that comes out of the dragon's mouth. You run from it; otherwise, it hurts you and increases sound!
  • Searing Flame Pretty much just eats you alive. Gives a debuff that increases fire damage taken and will kill you. Interrupt it by ringing one of the gongs around the side of the room.
Every so often, Atramedes will take off into the air and do three things.
  • Sonic Breath Again targets a random target and follows the player around until he dies; you can save him by ringing one of the gongs around the side of the room. Atramedes will then follow whoever hit the gong with Sonic Breath.
  • Roaring Flames Random flames that are spit around the room. They hurt, like most fire does, and increase your sound, so don't stand in them.
  • Sonar Pulse Little marked areas on the ground that get bombed by Atramedes. Standing in one and getting hit increases your sound and hurts you -- just like everything else -- so avoid them!
Positioning There are multiple ways in order to position yourself for this encounter. In terms of healing, the easiest way is to have all of the ranged players grouped up on one side of the dragon, with all of the melee grouped up on the other side. Having everyone clustered allows for easier AoE healing on the group, and there is a good bit of damage that goes out to the raid. The downside is that this increases ranged DPS movement significantly for dodging Sonar Pulse.

When spread out, you may or may not have to move from a Sonar Pulse, which can increase your DPS rather significantly; when grouped, everyone will have to move from every Sonar Pulse. Being grouped also helps with dodging Sonic Breath. While grouped, the player targeted by Sonic Breath just runs up towards the back of the room away from the group for everyone to avoid the attack.

Either way can work. Grouping, although bad for DPS, does make the encounter easier to heal and is probably best when first learning the encounter. Although your DPS will be lower, healers can heal up the groups much faster and more efficently. While you are moving, make sure to make liberal use of Fel Flame.

The above shows positioning based on grouping. Which side the ranged players group on depends on how fires end up spread out after an air phase. If one side is too fire-heavy, then switch to the other. Melee is always located on the side opposite of ranged.

Air phase Run around like a chicken with your head cut off! That's basically the strategy that you need to follow. Although ranged can still DPS during this phase, you want to try and do so at your maximum possible range. Fires will spawn on the ground, primarily where players are currently located. Bring out around the edges of the room allows for more space to work with once Atramedes lands.

Nefarian

Nefarian is a tough encounter that has three phases. Each phase can be difficult on your healers and requires DPS to really watch themselves as well.

Phase 1 This phase begins with Onxyia on the ground and Nef flying up in the air, spawning additional adds that need to be picked up and kited. The adds will eventually run out of energy and fall to the ground; make sure that they fall toward the back end of the room, far from Nefarian. You do not want them to get hit by a breath.

Tanking Ony is ... a choice. She does a Tail Lash for nominal damage and stunning targets for 2 seconds, and she has lightning sparks on her side that cannot be outranged. You can turn her so that the ranged eats the tail or so that they eat the sides. Another option is to have everyone grouped up in melee range at the side and then run inside Ony when she does her lightning, or you can turn Ony when she uses lightning to spin her tail around to avoid the damage.

This point during this phase is to get Nef to around 71% -- but not 70% -- and to kill Ony. Although Bane of Havoc is a good tool during this phase, you may want to avoid it. You don't want Ony to die early, and you don't want to push Nef too much; just be cautious.

Phase 2 Nef will start this phase by flooding the floor with lava and spawning three adds on the platforms around the edge. Nef will circle the air, spitting bombs at the platforms for some pretty hefty damage. The three adds have a Fire Nova ability that needs to be interrupted, or it will similarly deal massive damage to the entire raid. This phase will end either after 3 minutes or when all the adds are dead.

You can damage Nef during this phase with ranged attacks; however, the raid is still going to take 100k damage every time that you bring him down by 10%, and he's constantly bombing people for heavy AoE damage already.

Phase 3 This phase is the same as phase 1, just without Ony. The other little tweak is that Nef will now spawn fires that bring the adds back to life periodically. The adds still need to be tanked and kited -- having a DPSer slow them helps this -- and you need to keep them out of fires as much as possible until they reach 0 energy and die once again. If you fail to do that, their damage/speed-increasing buff will stack too high and the will destroy your tank and then your raid.

Overall, this is a very easy fight for DPS, as there's little that you need to worry about -- in fact, there's practically nothing to worry about. You just kill Nef. The big deal of the encounter is kiting the adds and dealing with the 100k damage every 10%. Anything you can do to reduce this damage helps the healers significantly, as well as any self-healing.

You can also CC the adds, but there are some issues with this. The fires will come before they naturally reach 0 energy, and getting hit will set them back to 100. Standard Fear may send them running off into a fire, which will clear the Fear and reset their energy. Glyphed Fear will keep them in one spot, but they are still capable of being hit by a new fire that does the same thing. Usually, it is best to just kite them around.

Review our look at Warlocks in Blackwing Descent, part 1.
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll steer you toward tip-top trinkets and Soulburning your way through Cataclysm.

Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

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