As a pretty skilled tank who’s busy working his way through normal modes in a relatively easy-going guild, I thought I’d share some of the ways we’ve found to deal with the encounters in the Throne of Thunder. While some general advice can be gleaned from this post (and I intend to keep updating it every boss we kill), it’s very Protection warrior-centric and the most value will be gained from those of that persuasion.
But why am I writing it?
Well, unlike most people who simply say “it’s easy, L2P” or who are in guilds with extraordinarily good healers, we’ve had to spend a bit of time on most bosses and come up with ways to work through some sticky patches rather than just relying on gear or sheer output to brute force our way through. Our set up is one of two tanks, three healers and never more than two melee DPS.
I’m also more than happy for people to share additional advice that I can add to this post as it moves on.
So, to whit:
Jin’rokh the Breaker
There’s literally nothing to this encounter, it’s about as tank and spank as they come. My only advice is to make sure you have Shield Block up with Shield Slam ready to go for tank swaps, as well as Dragon Roar if possible. Prioritizing Shield Barrier during the AoE phases will make you easier to heal, while Demoralizing Banner is a pretty good cooldown for them. It’s also worth remembering that Jin’rokh will always throw the tank to the pillar furthest from him, so you can pick which ones you want to pop.
To this point, this is the boss we’ve found to be the worst. If you have a paladin tank in your raid, you can cheese the Triple-Puncture but that effectively puts you on adds the entire time. Double-Time and Death From Above are good choices here, while Shockwave earns its wage many times over. The harder-hitting Drakkari trolls can be disarmed so bear that in mind, and Disrupting Shout (potentially with Gag Order) means you can shut down the Gurubashi venom priests almost single-handedly. Mocking Banner, if placed carefully, is very helpful here and you should get a couple of uses out of it.
When War God Ja’lak lands, remember he hits harder as the fight goes on. If your DPS or healing is a little low, prioritize your cooldowns accordingly from weakest to strongest; trinket (if applicable) Demoralizing Shout, Demoralizing Banner, Shield Wall and Last Stand. Shield Wall can be used last, particularly if glyphed, but it’s not a glyph I recommend; even for this fight. As an extra little bonus, Disarm does work on him.
Council of Elders
For our kills, we group High Priestess Bob up with Sul the Sandcrawler and Frost King Malakk – we then try to kill Sul before he empowers. The extra cleave damage makes up for the healing of the spirits, while it also allows the tanks to swap off Frost King Malakk far more easily (increasing DPS contribution, reducing damage taken) to avoid the stun. Again, Disrupting Shout means you can shut down an awful lot of what Sul the Sandcrawler does, as well as the High Priestess once he goes down. Revenge cleave makes your damage much more impressive, while you also have Mocking Banner should Sul cast Sandstorm while empowered. Shockwave and Piercing Howl are handy if you’re DPS is routinely missing this mark.
Another trick is to use Piercing Howl to slow the aggressive spirits from the High Priestess, useful if you’re struggling to kill them.
Protection warriors are amazing for this fight. If you’re on the boss you can Barrier every Snapping Bite to cushion it dramatically while contributing respectable damage, but if you’re assigned to bats you should really come into your own. Death From Above allows you to hit every bat group as it lands, with Thunderclap gripping them to you. There, you can use Shockwave to kill their damage output and then get in front of the boss for melee cleaves to kill them all off (the other tank also does this).
Not only that, but taking Piercing Howl means you can slow every set of turtles that come out and you can also kite the bats indefinitely if your raid calls on a full boss burn from around 25% or so. Mocking Banner makes this even easier.
Raid wise, this boss gives a lot of groups trouble, so it’s a question of prioritizing what you’re doing. If you have three healers, one should be kicking turtles for interrupts, while a DPS toon can kick added ones for more damage. Melee should be killing Tortos and the bats, ranged on Tortos and the turtles.
A lot of this fight depends on how your raid tackles it, but you’re pretty much doing the same thing regardless. Heroic Leap gets you from head to head, while you can also save Demoralizing Shout for every one of them. Demoralizing Banner does its usual stuff, but Rallying Cry can really make the difference on the later Rampages. Speaking of Rampage, I tend not to group up for it and use Shield Barrier and Impending Victory to keep myself up if it’s ever looking dodgy. That said, grouping up is still the better way to go if your healers request it and you can use Heroic Leap to get where you need to go quicker than any other tank.
Order wise, it really is up to how your raid group manages best. You want to prioritise damage if you’re tanking the head that’s being killed, while prioritizing mitigation if you’re on the head that’s just being off tanked. Equally, there’s no reason why you can’t burn the head that IS being killed, before moving off to off tank once Rampage ends. The biggest difference maker here is getting your raid markers in good stack positions.
Once more, warriors are pretty handy here. Downdraft is dealt with by reaching the edge and using Heroic Leap to get back in (but beware; you might eat an extra rake doing this), while you can consume puddles with nigh-on impunity thanks to Shield Barrier – I’m commonly on 5/6 stacks near the end, but have gone as high as 8 with Shield Wall.
The other cool part, however, is that Demoralizing Banner lets you be part of the cooldown rotation for Quills. You should get two in before Ji-Kun’s dead, so that banner really earns its corn. An additional point on pools, however; concentrate on keeping one quarter of the platform clear and ignore the rest. You’d be amazed how often you’re closing in on a kill and Downdraft wrecks it.
Durumu the Forgotten
There isn’t really a lot specific to warriors here, similar to the story with Jin’rokh. The usual mitigation and the like is obvious, but you can also use Heroic Leap to dump the puddles and then Charge back into range again. Shield Barrier is very good for the light show, but that’s almost the only advice I can give you. If you’ve gotten to Durumu, your raid has the tools to kill him; he’s probably among the three easiest of the first seven bosses I’ve killed to this point, including Primordius and Jin’rokh.
Special mention goes to Life Drain, however – please make sure you’re intercepting this as much as possible, it really is painful.
This absolutely depends on how you tackle Primordius. If you’re kiting, you can use Shockwave and Piercing Howl to great effect after a tank swap and you’re getting yourself mutated. However, if you’re planting him in the middle and nuking him while ignoring every mechanic, there isn’t much to say. Discuss with your healers which mutated combinations they find the most difficult, and be ready to use your banner and Rallying Cry to help them out.
Truthfully, however, doing the fight “properly” is the easiest and safest route. It’s easier to heal, you do far more damage and your healers don’t have to contend with horrible combinations of mutation. Just make sure you’re the last one to end up fully mutated, or your damage dealers (in particular) will soon become your enemy. :P
Probably the least enjoyable fight in the tier, the most important thing to note is not to panic. The entire encounter pretty much rests on the first 30 seconds and if you get those right, you’re on your way to a kill. You can use Mocking Banner to get the two Anima Golems to your exact position easily, and I’d recommend Demoralizing Shout for them as the damage isn’t trivial. If you get hit with Matter Swap, quickly pick a spot away from everything else and wait on your add arriving. For the main boss phase, you and the other tank want to be close together for easy taunt-swaps and the usual Banner/Cry cooldowns should be saved for the jolts – they hit harder than they sometimes look.
Shockwave is NOT recommended for this fight. The stun looks good, but you’re only ever hitting two mobs so you’ll be hit with the 40 second cooldown.
Like Dark Animus, success here pretty much depends on how quickly you learn the first phase – it’s by far the worst, we found. The stack mechanic for the fire spear is actually far simpler than some guilds are making it, but you have to be really careful that people aren’t inadvertently getting hit with more stacks of the debuff than they should be.
The way we did it was to have the melee group of four near the boss, and two other triangular points made with a group of three each. The two ranged groups should have only one person moving (unless the raid moves due to fire lines, of course) in and out. But here’s the best advice I can give you:
Ignore his energy.
On the pull, the melee group stacks up and then takes three stacks of the spear. As soon as this happens, they split and the second group gets together. This keeps his energy nearly at zero as he’ll cast the spear every time he gets enough, and this allows you to keep enough of a gap to heal people back up before the next one lands. Prioritize Shield Barrier for more absorption and go for 3, 2, 2 stacks each. By the time he gets back to the melee group, your original debuff will have fallen off safely.
When it comes to the wind tornado phase, DON’T PANIC. There is a very clear gap to get through, and you have the time to wait on it. Our people who died literally all did so because they tried to get safe too quickly. Warriors can especially laugh at this, given Heroic Leap and Intervene. In the final phase, you should have all your cooldowns up and ready to contribute from the fifth Fist Smash (assuming three healers).
Oh, and we Bloodlust on the pull. It’s back up again for the final phase if you do, and the first doggie is by far the worst of the three.
This boss, difficulty wise, is very underwhelming. If you’re using three healers, we recommend using your most mobile one to do the pedestals but keeping him ready to heal during Suen’s phase if her pulsing AoE is proving difficult. You really want to kill Suen first for this reason. The only other tank-related issue is the Beast of Nightmare, but it’s no real issue. Your own self-healing doesn’t stack the debuff, and if you have an absorption-related healer their absorbs don’t count it either.
To be amended, updated and continued.