So we are back once again, bringing a darker enlightenment to the raiding scene. After tromping through the first two bosses within The Bastion of Twilight last week, we'll continue the adventure by tackling the third encounter of the instance. Unfortunately, the Twilight Ascendant Council is easily the most difficult encounter within this zone, offering up a lot of raid awareness checks as well as a very rough DPS check at the end.
Which spec you choose to run on this encounter is mostly a wash, no matter how you slice it. Destruction or affliction might perform better overall; however, both affliction and demonology have very strong sub-20% damage, which is where the majority of the DPS race comes into play. As an overall generalization, you can play whichever spec you prefer for this encounter, though there is some give and take.
Read Beginning the Bastion of Twilight as a warlock, covering Halfus Wyrmbreaker and Valiona and Theralion.
Feludius and Ignacious
The first phase is against the elements of water and fire. Of all the phases, this is perhaps the easiest.
- Hydro Lance Feludius will cast this on a random raid member, dealing massive frost damage. It must be interrupted.
- Water Bomb Feludius sprouts out several water bombs toward random players. If hit, you will become Water Logged, which can be removed by running into fire. Can be avoided.
- Glaciate Deals ridiculous amounts of frost damage in an area around Feludius; damage reduced the father away from the boss you are. If you are Water Logged, Glaciate deals additional damage and you become frozen.
- Heart of Ice Feludius debuffs a random player to take increasing frost damage. Running through allies will grant them Icy Reprisal.
- Flame Torrent Ignacious deals fire damage in a cone in front of him.
- Inferno Leap Jumps toward a random ranged player, after which Ignacious charges back to the tank, knocking players away and leaving a trail of fire.
- Aegis of Flame Shields Ignacious, absorbing damage and preventing interrupts. Cast in conjunction with Rising Flames.
- Burning Blood Debuffs a random player to take increasing fire damage. Running through allies grants them Burning Spite.
Affliction notes Use Glyph of Soul Swap to keep full rounds of DoTs ticking on both targets at the same time. This is also amazingly beneficial for when you need to swap for Aegis of Flame. Be wary of using this once either target gets close to 25%. You need to push both of them at the same time, and you don't want your DoTs to cause one to push too early. You do want to make sure that your DoTs are up once they are both equally low, however, as there is some delay before they despawn and the ticks can help push them even further past 25%.
Destruction notes As is standard procedure during multi-target encounters, keep Bane of Havoc up on your off target. Again with keeping their health relatively close together, you can overwrite BoH with Bane of Agony or Bane of Doom, depending on how much off their health is from one another.
Demonology notes All the same as above applies, with the addition that you should also mind your pet in regards to damage output. While doing so applies to all warlocks in general, it is more important for demonology, given that your pet deals significantly more damage that those of other specs.
Arion and Terrestra
This is the phase when it is most important to pay attention! There is literally zero raid damage in this phase, provided that everyone actually watches what's going on around them. Failure to do this can easily result in a wipe -- or your own death, at the very least. None of these are good things, so avoid them as you can.
- Lightning Blast Arion hits a random raid member for massive nature damage. Must be interrupted.
- Disperse Arion teleports to a random section of the room; will usually cast Lightning Blast immediately after.
- Lightning Rod Arion debuffs random raid members; after 15 seconds, they'll be hit with a Chain Lightning. It deals 0 damage to Lightning Rod players but will pretty much kill anyone near them.
- Call Winds Summons a tornado that swirls around the room. Hitting it gives you the Swirling Winds buff.
- Thundershock Deals high levels of nature damage to everyone in the room. Avoided by being Grounded.
- Eruption Terrestra summons spikes out of the ground at his (her?) feet. Can be avoided.
- Hardened Skin Increases Terrestra's damage by 100% and absorbs 50% of damage done. Breaks after absorbing so much damage, causing massive damage to Terrestra.
- Gravity Well Summons a gravity well, hitting the well grants the Grounded buff.
- Quake Deals massive physical damage to everyone in the room. Avoided by having Swirling Winds.
The challenge here comes from Lightning Rod. If you get hit by it, you must get out of range of the raid group ASAP, at the cost of everything else. If even one person gets hit by Chain Lightning, there is an extremely high chance that it will launch off to other people and kill them. You may have to eat one of the big, bad spells in doing this, but that is fine; you'll live to tell about it, I promise.
That out of the way, have ranged players on Arion, since he teleports around, while melee players sit on Terrestra. You'll want to have ranged players clustered in the middle of the room in order to decrease the amount of moving that they have to do to catch back up.
Affliction notes The same as with phase 1, you'll want to spread your DoTs around both targets while keeping an eye on their health. Normally, you'd run Succubus and glyph Lash of Pain; however, you may want to consider running Felhunter for this encounter. Spell Lock is an amazing ability during this phase. Arion will often cast Lightning Blast right after teleporting away, which leaves most other players out of range. Your Felhunter should have more than enough time to catch up and Spell Lock it down. Any ranged class can pull this off, but if you happen to run 10s, it may be worth it to switch up pets. Just switch into the UA Glyph over Lash of Pain; it's not a fantastic one, but it's better than wasting a glyph slot. Alternatively, you can use the time between the bosses going down and phase 3 starting to switch pets and just eat the DPS nerf for the first two phases.
If you are lacking in the interrupt department and need to use a Felhunter, then running affliction is probably your best bet, as they lose the least in terms of DPS in having to divert from their standard pet of choice.
Destruction notes Standard multi-target rules apply. If you happen to have Nether Ward, then that's an additional protection that you can use against getting caught in a Thundershock -- it won't help against Quake -- but you really don't have to have it. Having it there is merely a useful tool if it's around.
Demonology notes Once more, phase 1 rules apply. Make sure that your Felguard does have his Charge turned on; it'd be a pity of you forgot it. Alternatively, you can have your pet on Terrestra instead. Terrestra moves a lot less than Arion does, making Hand of Gul'dan more effective since the aura will last a little bit longer. Either can work just as well as the other; just be wary of Arion's Dispersion cast.
Additional note It is possibly to bring Terrestra down to around 16% in this phase instead of 25%. Generally, you want to interrupt Hardened Skin, because the damage increase is rather significant; however, breaking the shield causes 10% of Terrestra's health to drop. You can opt to bring Arion down to around 26-27% while keeping Terrestra at around 28-29%. At this point, stop all DPS and allow Terrestra to cast Hardened Skin. Apply DoTs to Arion and burn down Terrestra as quickly as you can. If done correctly, Arion will be pushed to 25% at around the time Hardened Skin is broken -- leaving Arion at 25% and Terrestra down around 16%.
This is perhaps the most difficult DPS race within the current raiding tier. The Elemental Monstrosity has the combined remaining health of all the previous bosses, which should put him around 25% when you enter the phase. In good news, the difficulty of the DPS race is actually dependent on raid awareness and healing capability, so having well-geared healers actually helps to make this phase easier, as does any self-healing that you can provide.
- Electric Instability Deals significant nature damage and chains to up to four nearby targets. Approximately every 20 seconds, the ability hits an additional time per cast.
- Lava Seed Tosses out fire bombs that explode after a few seconds.
- Gravity Crush Deals heafty damage to a few targets and then drops them from their air for additional fall damage.
- Cryogenic Aura Spawns a pool of frost on the ground which grows as long as the EM stands in it; also reduces damage taken by EM by 25% when the boss is in the pool.
Kiting EM out of the Aura is one of the larger concerns for keeping DPS up; the damage reduction is a really big deal. Having a proper kiting path set up prior to the encounter will really help keeping everyone spread out, reduce movement, and keep the boss out of the goo.
There are no real fantastic tricks that you can abuse within this phase beyond your standard burn, boss, burn tactics. Affliction's self-healing is fantastic to have during this part of the encounter, and while it won't totally cancel out the damage, it may just provide that little extra oomph that you need in order to survive. Nether Protection also works well in this respects. Given that a majority of this phase has the boss' health below 20%, both demonology and affliction do exceptionally well in terms of damage output. There is no enrage timer for the previous portions of this encounter, so the damage to EM is really your largest concern.
Remember to stay spread out, avoiding as much damage as you feasibly can, and dish out as much hurt as is possible. Final tip: Try to save at least two of your Soul Shards for this phase of the encounter. You really need to push DPS here, and the boss should only last long enough for the cooldown to come up a single time if used right away. Demonology probably gets the least out of this tactic, given that you'll have Decimation up by the time Soulburn is ready again, but it is still worth it.
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.