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The Light and How to Swing It: Tanking the Bastion of Twilight, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Last we left off, Halfus was laid low and the Twin Dragons were plucked from the sky. Now we come to the exciting conclusion of my "Months Behind Raid Guides" in preparation for the opening of the Firelands in the coming weeks. Before you set foot in that sulfuric realm, you'll likely want to make sure you have the current content cleared to allow you a running start in pursuit of Ragnaros' legions.

To assist you with that, this guide will help you push aside the Ascendant Council and overthrow Cho'gall, the head(s) honcho -- polycephaly joke! -- of the Cult of Twilight. The Council in particular is one of the most chaotic fights of tier 11 and will definitely prove a challenge to your raid the first time you hit it. There's a lot going on here, and the best tool you can arm yourself with is knowledge of everything this pseudo-Captain Planet will be throwing at you. And of course, Cho'gall will be a handful, as he throws varying kinds of damage your way. Steel yourself for the incoming torrent of elemental and corrupted damage.

Breaking up the Ascendant Council

There are two initial tanking jobs on this fight. One meat shield will be taking the left side's bosses (Ignacious and Arion), while the other gets the right side's (Feludius and Terrastra).

Starting with the right side tank, your first quarry, Feludius, is a water elemental, and his attacks follow that theme. When tanking, you need to make sure you're primarily focused with interrupting Hydro Lance, as it will cause serious damage on a raid member whenever it slips through. Likewise, you'll also need to watch for Glaciate to be cast and run out when it is, and furthermore, watch that you have an interrupt primed to be fired off if he's attempting to cast Hydro Lance while you're running back in. Glaciate itself doesn't do much damage, so you don't need to flee like a chicken with your head cut off to get out of it, but get a healthy distance away from Feludius.

The biggest threat to your life at this point will occur if you get targeted by a Water Bomb. Being hit by that debuffs you with Waterlogged, which will allow Glaciate to one-shot you if it goes off while you have the debuff and are close by. Thankfully, you can use the Divine Shield clear-bubble macro to just bubble the debuff off. If Divine Shield is not available, run through one of Ignacious' flame trails.

Speaking of Ignacious, occasionally he'll Inferno Leap over to you and leave a flame trial in his wake when he runs back to whomever is tanking him. Now, ostensibly, you're supposed to get knocked back. However, if you jump at just the right moment, you will avoid the knockback completely. I do it mostly by instinct, so the timing is hard to describe, but if you jump as he starts to run away from you, that's around the point when the knockback occurs. You might need to practice it a bit.

But I digress. If you're the person tanking Ignacious, you have a different kit of abilities to counter -- primarily Flame Torrent, which is a cone attack directed at the tank. That means you'll want to be facing Ignacious away from the raid and toward the back door. Rotate a glyphed Divine Protection and the clicky on Mirror of Broken Images to mitigate these.

It's possible you might find yourself getting pegged with the Waterlogged debuff. If that occurs, use the ol' bubble-taunt trick by first casting Hand of Reckoning on Ignacious, then using the Divine Shield macro. That'll keep him fixated for the amount of time you need to work the macro, preventing him from spinning around and knocking out on of the meleeing sitting on his tail while you're sloughing off the debuff.

If you get Waterlogged a second time, you'll have to carefully announce to the raid your need to possibly spin the boss to reach one of the inferno trails. Melee needs to be aware they'll have to move to avoid getting roasted by a Flame Torrent.

Lastly, Ignacious will periodically cast Aegis of Flames (a damage absorption shield) and then begin channeling Rising Flames. Your DPS needs to be really on their feet with bashing through the shield and interrupting the channel; otherwise, you'll be looking at major damage spikes once Ignacious returns his attention to you.

Fresh bosses

Once one of the two hits 25% health, they'll disappear and a second wave of bosses will come out. Left tank grabs Arion, right tank grabs Terrastra.

The tanking at this point becomes much more of a chaotic affair. There'll be tornadoes and gravity wells at various places in the room, which you'll want to utilize or avoid depending which ability -- Thundershock or Quake -- is coming up next. To counter the former, you want the Grounded debuff from the gravity wells. To counter the latter, you want Swirling Winds from the tornadoes.

Meanwhile, Arion will mark several players with the Lightning Rod debuff. Those players need to run to the walls and as far away from people as they can, so they don't chain lightning bolts and nuke the raid in one, horrible fell swoop. Other raiders need to avoid being too close to the walls and along bolts to chain from the Rods through them to the rest of the raid.

In the middle of all this craziness, you need to be very careful about having the appropriate grounded/levitated status so that you don't take extra damage from the two ultimates and that you're sticking somewhat close to the middle so that you're not helping chain a lightning bolt anywhere. Moreover, if you're the Terrastra tank, you need to be on top of interrupts for his Harden Skin cast and likewise be cognizant of Eruption and dancing away when appropriate, so you're not eating extra damage from that.

The Elementium Monstrosity

Finally, once one of that pair hits 25% as well, you'll shift to the final phase. The Elementium Monstrosity.

When the phase starts (assuming you're tanking), you want to immediately pour as much threat into him as soon as possible. Pop wings and do whatever else you can to maximize your burst aggro so DPS doesn't rip him off you. Obviously, tricks and MDs will go along way here with helping you cement a lead.

The Monstrosity will drop and spread a Cryogenic Aura underneath himself, which will necessitate interspersed kiting. Stand him still for three or so growths of his aura (the hitbox is huge and people should be spread out, anyway), and then move him. Try to take him in a spiral motion around the center to maximize how much time you'll have before the whole room is filled with his frozen morass.

Meanwhile, he'll throw out a storm Lava Seeds that will leave little lights on the ground. Stand away from those so that you don't get hit with the resulting flame damage. On top of that, he'll lift random raid members in the air via Gravity Crush and inflict a chunk of fall damage on them. You can help someone out by quickly tossing a Hand of Protection on them, which will prevent any accrual of fall damage.

Lastly, Electric Instability will be consistently cast across the raid, providing a soft enrage timer for the final phase. You should mitigate that (especially towards the end) with Divine Guardian.

You have NOT seen boss crotch until you've tanked Cho'gall
Cho'gall, and behead(s)ing the Cult of Twilight

As I said in the intro to this post, the onus of Cho'gall really is more on the raid than you, especially when it comes to handling the adds, not standing in fire, not getting hit by bad things, etc. The tanking is relatively tame, at least compared to Nefarian, for example. Still, it's very helpful to looking at Cho'gall's toolbox and how to counter everything he's going to toss at you.

This is a two-tank fight, with each tank having a very different job whenever a Corrupting Adherent is released. One tank (who will be the one that tanks right off the pull) will be handing the adds and guiding them to the back of the room to die in the correct spot, while the other will take over on Cho'gall and focus on mitigating the various attacks he throws at you while the raid is otherwise occupied. The tank swaps will be punctuated the debuff Fury of Cho'gall. Swaps should always follow when the debuff goes out; you do not want to handle Cho'gall with that weighing you down.

And speaking of debuffs, occasionally, the boss will force members of the raid to worship him, giving him a stacking damage buff. It's imperative these are all dispelled ASAP, as they can significantly affect the amount of damage Cho'gall can output.

As a protection paladin, you are uniquely able to counter worships through the use of Avenger's Shield. This is especially key if a healer assigned to you is MCed. You don't want to go long without incoming heals, so it's imperative to knock off the healer's MC as soon as humanly possible.

Cho'gall has two types of elementals he can summon to buff himself. Shadow's Orders allows him to unleash a powerful shadow AOE attack that can be mitigated through Divine Guardian. Likewise, Flame's Orders boosts Cho'gall's melee attacks with a fire component. Consider using glyphed Divine Protection and the Mirror of Broken Shields combo to take the edge off these. Especially during Flame's Orders, your incoming damage will increase significantly. Hopefully, worship stacks will be low or nonexistent, or else you might need to reach for a bigger cooldown. That's probably the most dangerous subsection of the fight for the tank.

Stay light on your feet so you're able to dash out of an incoming Corrupting Crash at a moment's notice. As the tank, you absolutely cannot be getting corruption stacks. Likewise, if you're the one dragging the Adherent around, you need to help with interrupts of its Depravity casts. Those really cannot ever go off. (Ideally, DPS will be able to handle those, but it's always a good idea to have a backup.)

Chaos ensues

At the 25% mark, phase 2 will begin, and Cho'gall will say "screw it" and start flinging corruption left and right. Whichever tank has him should immediately drag him into his skull throne -- provided he's not currently summoning fire on the ground. If that's the case, wait til he's done doing that so your safe spot isn't covered in an inferno, and park him as far inside as you can get him. While ensconced, he'll only summon his Darkened Creations within the throne, making AOEing them down so much easier.

Keep in mind that in this phase, he'll continue to cast Fury of Cho'gall, so don't assume you're done tank swapping.

Pop Divine Guardian toward the end as things get hairier, and hold onto your hat. With a little perseverance and a whole lot of your DPS not puking on one another, you'll easily triumph over this servant of the Old Gods.
The Light and How to Swing It tries to help paladins cope with the dark times brought by Cataclysm. Check out our protection 101 guide and our suggestions for protection paladin addons.

Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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