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Shifting Perspectives: Soloing as a feral druid, part 4

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat , bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

We've blitzed through the game's level 60 content, knocked out Kara, and sailed through Serpentshrine Cavern. In my last post in this series (for now), we'll explore Tempest Keep. Clearing Tempest Keep is possible, but it requires full mastery of the entire druid toolbox, good gear, and dedication. Prepared to dish out a setback? Read on.

Tempest Keep

Getting there Take the portal from your home city to Blasted Lands, go through the portal to Outland, and fly north to Cosmowrench; TK is directly east from there. The TK 5-mans (Arcatraz, Botanica, and Mechanar) are on the three outlying islands; just follow the glass tube east from Cosmowrench and you'll run straight into the raid instance entrance.

Layout TK has a very simple and symmetrical design. A narrow tunnel from the entrance leads to a large, circular room, where you fight Al'ar. Two ramps near the room's entrance create a circular balcony from which two tunnels continue north. Each tunnel forks once; the outer forks dead-end in large rooms that contain Void Reaver and Solarian; the inner forks lead into the room with the final boss, Kael'thas. Bosses can be fought in any order. Finally, every room has linked trash that needs to be cleared before pulling the boss, though the hallway mobs can be skipped via Prowl if desired.

The only trash mobs of note are the two Nether Scryers patrolling around Solarian. You have to burst them down ASAP, as they will Mind Control you. If you do fail to kill them in time, though, the resulting sequence is hysterical; the mobs reset when you are MCed and your character will fall into formation with them and continue the patrol until the MC breaks. This immediately re-aggroes the pack and repeats the process anew until you die or you manage to kill the Scryer before the MC. Fun times.

Boss strategies

Al'ar Al'ar is a two-phase fight, neither of which should present significant trouble. In phase 1, Al'ar will periodically fly from platform to platform on the balcony, meleeing you if you're in range or chaincasting Flame Buffet if you're not. Every time Al'ar moves, he'll also spawn an add; just kill it before moving back to Al'ar. Rarely, Al'ar will fly to the center of the room instead of the next platform; when this happens, drop down to the floor, as Flame Quills is about to hit the balcony. You can use Feral Charge to jump up to Al'ar as needed, which is quite awesome.

Once Al'ar hits 0% HP, he "dies" and is reborn, starting phase 2, which is a tank and spank with adds and fire. Dodge the fire, kill adds, and beat on Al'ar while he's on the ground. When Al'ar is airborne, you have an opportunity to HOT yourself up if you need to. Finish him off, collect loot, and move on.

Void Reaver Void Reaver is a very simple fight with one big catch: Arcane Orb. Since you're by yourself, he will constantly spam Arcane Orb on you every 3 to 4 seconds, which means you will be silenced for the entire fight. Thankfully, this doesn't affect our Savage Defense or Leader of the Pack heals, but you'll have to get lucky and resist two in a row if you want to use any heals, most notably Frenzied Regeneration. Just pull in bear and grind away, keeping Survival Instincts and Barkskin on cooldown, and look for an opportunity to pop FR if you get two resists. Keep in mind that you'll have to drop Feral Faerie Fire and Demoralizing Roar from your rotation.

Other than that, there's not much strategy involved here. You'll want to have some decent gear to keep alive and kill him before the 10-minute enrage; 359 gear should work just fine, though better will make things much easier.

Solarian In contrast to Void Reaver, Solarian is much more entertaining. She will spend most of the fight spamming Arcane Missiles on you, and she'll periodically summon 15 nonelite adds or two elite priests (who heal and need to die quickly). The cool ability, though, is Wrath of the Astromancer. This debuff will sit on you for 6 seconds and then propel you far into the air. You'll have a good 4 to 5 seconds of hang time. Since the debuff prevents you from taking fall damage, simply shift out of Cat, HOT up (I usually cast a Rejuv and one Lifebloom), then shift back to Cat to continue DPS. You'll spend a good portion of the fight doing this.

Once she's reduced to 20% HP, she'll turn into a massive voidwalker and dispense with all the spell stuff. Just burn her the rest of the way down and continue.

Kael'thas Now that we've completed our warmup, we get to the main event. The Kael'thas fight is very, very difficult to solo, but it is possible. The fight has multiple phases, and I'll discuss each in detail. You can use the entire instance to kite, as long as you exit KT's room during the intro speech. For the vast majority of the fight, your focus will be on survival, not DPS; as you expend combo points, kite away, HOT up, and use an instant HT. You'll also need three weaponswitch macros, two that equip/use the Staff of Disintegration and Cosmic Infuser, and one that returns you to your normal weapon. (For a more in-depth guide, check out my friend Willee's Youtube video; his blog, Ferocious Byte, also has a ton of great info for feral soloers.)

Phase 1: Advisors Kael'thas has four advisors: Thaladred, Sanguinar, Capernian, and Telonicus. When you pull Kael, after his intro speech, he will send each advisor after you, one at a time. They will automatically aggro on you wherever you are in the instance. The doors to KT's room lock, but not until he finishes his speech; wait just outside the door for Thaladred, the first advisor. He packs a nasty bleed attack but moves very slowly, making him easy to kite. Once he dies, run back to where you fought Al'ar and wait for Sanguinar there. Sanguinar has a fear but is otherwise quite easy; kill him near the entrance, as well.

As soon as he dies, run all the way back to the anteroom to face the most troublesome advisor, Capernian. You must fight her here, as she will frequently cast Conflagration (which disorients) as well as Arcane Burst (which will knock you back and slow you). Together, the two abilities are deadly -- unless you fight her in the little anteroom adjacent to KT's room, which prevents her knockback from fully working. As soon as she dies, heal up and wait for Telonicus. He tosses dodgeable bombs that do a good bit of damage and hits you with a 60-second debuff that randomly stuns you. Burn him down to 20% HP or so (skip the bleeds), then just dodge and heal and wait until the debuff is about to expire before killing him.

Phase 2: Weapons A few seconds after Telonicus dies, KT will release seven legendary weapons. This phase is timed, so there's no waiting around here. Use a bend in the hallway to group them up for AOE, hit Berserk and SI, and Swipe them down. Once they die, they are lootable; grab the Staff of Disintegration and Cosmic Infuser, then run back to Sanguinar's body, HOTing yourself up as you go.

Phase 3: Advisors' rise All four advisors will be revived and will aggro on you at once, 2 minutes after phase 2 starts. Hopefully, all the weapons are dead, you're at full HP, and you're near Sanguinar when he revives. Nuke down Sanguinar as fast as you can; he should be dead or close to dead when Capernian and Telonicus get close. Hit your Staff of Disintegration weapon switch macro, finish off Sanguinar if necessary, then start working on Telonicus. The Staff's effect will make you immune to the negative status effects you dealt with in phase 1, but it does significantly less damage. Slowly work down Telonicus, Thaladred, then Capernian, kiting and healing as much as possible. This part takes a good deal of practice, as this phase is timed as well.

Phase 4: Enter Kael'thas Three minutes after phase 3 starts, KT himself will aggro. If the advisors are not all dead by the time KT reaches you, it's probably a wipe. KT will chaincast Fireball, toss in the occasional Flamestrike (get out of the AOE), and summon Phoenixes. Finally, every 20 seconds, he'll cast Arcane Disruption, and every 60 seconds, he'll cast Shock Barrier on himself and charge up three Pyroblasts.

Ouch. Yes, you can handle all that by yourself. First of all, make sure you have the Staff of Disintegration equipped/used at all times, in order to counteract Arcane Disruption. The only time to switch will be during the Pyroblast phases. When Pyroblast starts, switch to and use the Cosmic Infuser, burn down KT's Shock Barrier (using Barkskin/SI to help mitigate the first Pyroblast), and interrupt. The phoenixes will do a small amount of damage, so they're best ignored in bird form. They'll eventually die and turn into eggs; these must be killed to prevent the phoenix from respawning. Finally, use Skull Bash and the doorway to interrupt or LOS KT's Fireballs.

Once you get KT to 50% HP, he runs back to his room, goes all supersize, and runs back. He gains a new ability, Gravity Lapse; just stay away from KT while this is going off (resist the temptation to fly high in the air). He stops casting Pyroblast during this phase, so just continue interrupting Fireballs, and finally (whew!) kill him.

Claim your rewards

TK isn't quite as good as SSC for speed clears, since you have to kill the majority of the trash. Still, you can quite easily clear everything minus KT in an hour, raking in close to 1,000 gold. If you can drop KT, that's an extra 300 gold plus a chance at the super-rare Ashes of Al'ar -- also, transmog loot a-plenty.

This finishes up my coverage of solo tactics for now. With Patch 4.3 and BlizzCon looming, it's time to switch to current events. Got questions? Ask in the comments!

Looking for the latest and greatest in feral cat druid guides? Shifting Perspectives has the answers! Check out our cat 101 for Cataclysm. Also don't miss gearing your cat for Firelands raiding, addons for cat druids and raiding strats for feral cats, as well as our feral cat Firelands boss strats.

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