Greetings raiders, and welcome to WoW Insider's raid boss strategy guides! With the release of 4.3 and the new Dragon Soul raid, we're finally onto the last bastion of evil in this expansion. Finally we are given the chance to face down Deathwing himself and end his destructive madness. Before we can reach this cataclysmic destroyer, though, we'll first have to break the siege upon Wyrmrest Temple and battle our way through the most powerful minions the Destroyer has in his arsenal.
The first of this is Morchok, a giant earth elemental that is assaulting the front gates, as it were, of the Temple itself. Although not challenging for the first encounter of the raid, this pile of rocks isn't going down without a fight. Are you prepared to break yourselves upon his body? (Oh, wait ... that's a different encounter, isn't it?)
Setting up for the encounter
The setup for the fight is relatively standard. You'll need to bring along two tanks and a solid contingent of five to six healers (two to three healers for 10-man), and fill in the rest of your raid with DPS.
While Morchok does have an Enrage timer, it's a fairly lax one that no raid should have any trouble meeting; it's more so there for the sake of being there than to enforce any true sense of urgency upon your DPS. Overall, if you're geared enough to be able to complete most of the encounters found in Firelands, then you won't have any issues at all tackling Morchok.
- Stomp Performs a massive stomp, hitting all targets within a 25-yard radius. The attack deals significantly high amounts of damage, but this is split between all targets that are hit by the ability. The two closest targets to Morchok take double the amount of damage as anyone else.
- Crush Armor Morchok hits his current target for 110% normal swing damage and places a stacking debuff on the player that reduces armor by 10%. This effect can stack up to 10 times.
- Resonating Crystal Summons up a large crystal from the ground at a random location, which explodes after 12 seconds have passed, for large amounts of shadow damage. This damage is split between three players in 10-man and seven players in 25-man, with the total damage being increased the farther away from the crystal players are.
- Furious Upon hitting 20% health, Morchok becomes enraged, increasing his attack speed by 30% and his damage inflicted by 20%.
- Earth Consume You Draws all players to Morchok's current location, inflicting 5% of their total health as physical damage every second for 5 seconds. Targets are stunned for the duration of this effect.
- Earth's Vengeance Summons up massive shards of rock from the ground, inflicting physical damage to any players within 2 yards of the effect.
- Black Blood of the Earth Causes the Black Blood of the Earth to erupt outward from Morchok, inflicting massive amounts of nature damage and increasing nature damage taken by 100% every second while standing within the blood. This effect can stack up to 20 times.
Although Morchok doesn't really have phases in the traditional sense of the word, he spends the majority of the encounter going through his three primary abilities. The first, Crush Armor, is only a concern for the tanks. Although the boss doesn't hit very hard and tanks rely more so on raw avoidance and passive mitigation for their damage reduction, losing too much armor can cause this attack to drop a tank far more quickly than healers are capable of dealing with. Despite this increased damage, it is actually possible to single tank Morchok in normal mode, provided that you make liberal use of cooldowns once stacks get high. Normally, though, it's best to have your tanks swap around the three- to four-debuff mark.
The second ability that you'll see frequently is Stomp. Stomp requires little input from the actual raid in order to manage; however, you will want to have as many players within range of the ability as possible in order to help reduce the damage that every player ends up taking. Fortunately, the range of this attack is rather large, so being hit by it isn't all too difficult. It's often better to have two melee DPSers stand slightly close to the boss in order to soak the additional damage instead of the tanks. The added damage won't threaten their lives at all, as they shouldn't be taking any other AoE damage in this encounter. Having DPS soak it instead of the tanks reduces the chances that your tanks will drop drastically low from a Stomp-and-melee-swing combo.
Last is Resonating Crystal. These will spawn periodically in random areas around Morchok, usually outside of the 25-yard Stomp range, and immediately link to three players. While the ability states that it hits random targets, it actually focuses onto whichever raid members happen to be closest at the time. Due to this, you'll want to assign a cluster of ranged DPSers in order to run out and stand onto of any crystals that spawn. While this group shouldn't ever find themselves outside of healer range, it can be wise in 25-man to add a healer into their group just to be safe. Often, Morchok will spawn a new crystal immediately after the last one explodes, so these players have to be on the ball with movement.
Morchok's second phase, if you can really call it that, begins with his pulling in all raid members to him, stunning them and dealing a light amount of damage over 5 seconds. The damage from this is mild at best and shouldn't threaten anyone's life at all. While stunned, Morchok will summon out multiple spikes of rock around the area. Although these can deal damage, players should never be in any threat of getting hit by them due to being on top of Morchok.
After the stun has worn off, the boss will begin a quick cast in order to summon out the Black Blood of the Earth. During this time, the raid merely has to run away from the boss and hide behind any of the rocks that have formed around the map. You can also merely outrange the effect by running straight out; either option works.
Keep in mind that the rocks will protect you from the Blood, but they will not hinder line of sight. Healers are still capable of healing anyone within range during this time, and ranged DPS can continue to lay into the boss. After the Blood has subsided, Morchok returns to normal, going back into his former rotation of abilities.
Simple and straightforward
That's the fight! All in all, Morchok is a very easy, very simplistic encounter that shouldn't prevent much of an issue to many players. As an introductory boss, I think he's just perfect, offering up a nice array of abilities that adjust new raiders into the game without being overtly deadly. If you mess up and end up either out of range on Stomp or not getting to a crystal on time, you aren't going to find yourself eating floor. Good luck!
Ready Check shares all the strategies and inside information you need to take your raiding to the next level. Be sure to look up our strategy guides to Cataclysm's 5-man instances, and for more healer-centric advice, visit Raid Rx.