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Heroic Ulduar: Yogg-Saron

It’s long overdue, but I just can’t walk away from my Ulduar guides without covering Yogg, so as quickly as I can, the Yogg-Saron encounter:

Trash – Rejoice!  There is none.


Even if you’re doing this fight for the first time, you’ve probably seen the room.  Loudmouth Sara is in the center, floating above a pool of what appears to be liquid saronite.  Clouds rotate around her randomly, and all looks fairly peaceful.

When you walk in the door, you activate the encounter.  Hopefully you’ve activated all the keepers (you do this by talking to them; they’ll appear in Yogg’s room as they’re activated) and will therefore have their buffs, most of which work on their own with or without your cooperation (like getting frozen by Hodir when you’re actually trying to wipe), but Freya’s gift you need to take note of and use, probably frequently.

At the beginning of the encounter, you are given a debuff called Sanity.  It starts out at 100, but over time things during the encounter will drain that Sanity.  It is very important to watch your sanity and someone might need to call out occasional “check your sanity” reminders throughout the raid.  Let’s say that one more time for emphasis:  IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO WATCH YOUR SANITY.  If your sanity gets low you need to stand in one of Freya’s green light wells positioned around the outside walls of the room.  You can’t dps while standing in them; they decrease your damage.  You walk in, get your sanity up, and then get out.  If you reach 0 Sanity you will go Insane and be MC’d by Yogg and he will use you to start killing your friends. You will have to be killed, and you cannot be rezzed.  If you’ve gone insane, a rez will bring you back still insane.  This wastes time and especially when you’re still learning the fight will most likely cause a wipe.

Phase 1 : Focus Your Anger and Hatred on His Minions

During this phase, Sara spawns Guardians from the green clouds around the room.  You need to kill them next to her to kill the avatar and move to Phase 2.  Most of the time Guardian spawns are random; however, if anyone in the raid touches a cloud, an extra guardian will spawn.  More than two and you can all clump up at the door and die, as you’ll be too far behind to catch up.  The solution is easy: don’t touch the green clouds.

No, not that kind.

No, not that kind.

We handle this phase by doing what I like to call the “Guardian Shuffle.”  Most of the raid clumps up at the door, with the exception of the tanks and one or two healers.  We have 4 tanks for this fight (some do this in dps gear).  Our MT stands next to Sara in the middle; here he is safe from accidental cloud spawning and he is in the right place to damage Sara by killing Guardians.  The other three tanks take turns grabbing spawns and carefully avoiding clouds as they drag them up to the raid where we FOCUS FIRE (split dps is bad bad bad).  In order to better control our dps so we don’t kill them before they reach Sara, we have the majority of the raid stop dps when the Guardian is around 40%.  The tank starts dragging them down at this point, and our mages and hunters get them from 40-10% and then kill them once our MT taunts it and gets it close to Sara.

This is both easier and harder than it sounds on paper.  It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds once you’ve done it, but execution is a bigger issue.  We spent a week just getting to Phase 2 because we had people dancing in clouds and killing Guardians early.  This is not about the damage meter; this phase is all about control.

Easy achievement alert:  the Heroic: Kiss and Make Up achievement is great for when you’re learning this fight, because the first few times you manage to make it to Phase 2, you’re going to wipe HARD.  Take advantage of this, and make a macro that says

/tar Sara

And spam it as you enter phase 2.  That’s it, achievement earned.

Phase 2:  The Time to Strike at the Head of the Beast

During this phase, Yogg spawns tentacles of various shapes, sizes, and abilities.  They stay in place, and you have to move to them.  We have a caster who runs around with a purple diamond on his head so we all know where to go next.  Splitting dps is still bad bad bad.

Credit Note: This is not my screenshot, because I keep forgetting to take one. >.>

Crusher Tentacles

These are the main priorities for ranged dps.  Melee can’t get close to them because they get a stacking buff that increases the damage they do.  We have one warrior who runs in and out stabbing it occasionally to get the stacks to fall, but other than that, these are all up to ranged.  They have a lot of health and each one lowers damage dealt by 20%.  If you let more than 2 get up at a time, you’re done.  At one point, the room will freeze, and the tentacles will cease to do damage.  When that happens, use your treants if they’re up to help catch the raid up so you have time to kill a few corruptors while you’re at it.  Also, healers can dps during this time as no one will be taking any damage.

Constrictor Tentacles

We generally have 3 or 4 ranged assigned to killing Constrictors as they appear.  This is another reason it’s important for the majority of the raid to stick together: Constrictors randomly target a person in the raid, pick them up, and squeeze.  The constricted person needs to be healed while the assigned Constrictor killers get it down.  The good news is that you can still cast while your constricted, so worse case scenario, at least as druids we can heal ourselves if necessary.  For you mages out there, Ice Block immediately releases you (and you suck).

Corruptor Tentacles

Ah, fellow moonkin, pull out your Decursive mod or get your mouseover macro ready:  you will probably be at least assisting in decursing through phase 2 and 3.  In order to maximize our dps and not distract our healers, I am the only decurser (and during last night’s kill, I broke my decursing record with a whopping 97 dispells).  Corruptor Tentacles throw curses, diseases, and poisons around the room, all of which REALLY REALLY need to be cleansed.  I decurse and we usually have a pally who takes off poisons and diseases, although I try to help out with the poisons if I notice it’s becoming a problem.  Crushers are certainly the priority, but go into Phase 3 with too many Corruptors up, and you’ll be too bogged down with curses and poisons to do any good.  For this reason, whenever we kill a Crusher we move right to a Corruptor until another Crusher spawns, and if we have extra melee, they focus on Corruptors specifically.

Brain Link

This is the other important ability you need to be aware of.  Occasionally, Yogg will Brain Link two players and a colored line will appear between them.  These two players need to stay close together until Brain Link fades.  If the line is green, you’re doing it right.  If it’s red, you’re too far away and you will lose 2 Sanity for every second the line is red.  That’s bad.  Don’t let the line stay red for long.  If a ranged or healer is linked with a melee headed into the brain room, that’s okay: run with them to the portal because the Brain Link will sever when they enter.

Melee & the Brain Room

Really, I don’t know much about what goes on in there.  Good thing this is a moonkin blog!  Portals will open up around Yogg, and we have 10 melee dps assigned to enter the portals.  They kill their way through the room that spawns and then into the Brain Room.  The really important things that happen in there is that a) they need to keep their backs to the floating skulls in order to keep their Sanity, and b) they need to get out of the Brain Room before Madness ends, or they will go Insane when they come out.  We have someone who calls this for the melee, so it’s rarely a problem anymore.  It’s important that melee do enough dps to get the Brain down in 3 portals, otherwise the raid gets easily overrun with tentacles.

Phase 3: Muwahahaha

This phase is tricky, but not overly complicated once everyone understands how it works.  Immortal Guardians will begin to spawn, and they live up to their name.  You can only kill them to 1%; at that point, Thorim will strike them down.  They hit very VERY hard at first, and do less and less damage as their health decreases.  For this reason, we all stand close enough to our MT so that a convenient Thunderclap or an in-range taunt keeps Guardians from killing the raid.  We let melee handle the Guardians (no aoe and no splitting dps, kk?!) while the ranged focus on Yogg.

The best advice I can give you for this is to turn up your speakers and pay attention.  If you’re decursing like I am, this is where your dps will start to really show the strain (and that’s okay if it’s your job to decurse), because the Corruptor tentacles that are still up will not die until Yogg dies.  However, you can still dps, but you need to be careful.

Frequently throughout Phase 3, Yogg will cast “Lunatic Gaze.”  You can’t possibly in a million years miss it: it looks like a bunch of pink streamers coming from Yogg to the raid.  When he does this, turn your back to him.  For every second you’re facing him during his Gaze you lose 4 Sanity.  This adds up quickly if you’re not paying attention.  Here is the super top secret to knowing when to turn back around, are you ready?  Okay: he laughs.  I know, it sounds dumb, but I know Lunatic Gaze is really over because he laughs throughout the Gaze with an added laugh at the end.  After that last laugh, it’s over and you can safely turn back around.  You’ll also get a feel for how often he casts it and might even be able to pretty easily predict it once you’ve done it for a while.

Dps the boss when Gaze is not up, turn your back on him when it is, and keep an eye on your Sanity, running back to wells when you get under 30.

Survive all of that crap and the enrage timer, and you win.

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Heroic Ulduar: Thorim

I like this fight’s layout, although mastering it might take a little practice.  It took us a considerable amount of time to figure out exactly what combinations worked for us in the first phase.  I’m still going to focus primarily on our feathery ranged dps role, though.

Trash is very easy.  It’s two sets of two dark iron guys.  Tank the two together, and the tanks need to switch targets back and forth until they’re dead.  Single target dps them down.  Do this twice, done.

The Pull

When you walk in the door, there is an assortment of NPCs fighting a Jormungar in an arena-type event.  Kill the Acolyte healer first, then the Captain, then the other NPCs, then finally the Jormungar.  Honestly, I usually kill the healer, dot the captain, then Starfall + Hurricane.  Once everything is dead, Thorim will start a dialogue.  At this point, Phase 1 begins.

Phase 1

You will need to split your raid into two groups, one to play dodgeball-mini-boss-killing in the tunnel and the other to hold off adds in the arena.  I can’t give you a magic formula for who needs to be where.  I can tell you what works for us, and that should be a pretty good guideline.

The Arena Group‘s primarily going to focus on killing adds and staying alive in the arena.  You’re there to distract Thorim with a good show while the tunnel group sneaks in from behind.  We go melee-heavy in the arena because they’re better suited for it.  There are lots of silences in the arena, making it inhospitable to casters, and enough moving around in the tunnel to make it difficult for melee to do any good there.   Our typical arena group consists of two tanks, all the melee, a hunter or two, and 4-5 healers.  If you find yourself in the arena (I have been put in there before, but not in a while), run if you get the all too obvious DBM skull on your head, and the kill order is always Evoker -> Champion -> Warbringer -> Commoner.  Some groups AoE this part; we haven’t had luck with that yet.  Keep this up until Phase 2.

This guy is dressed like a rogue...death is imminent.

This guy is dressed like a rogue...death is imminent.

The Tunnel Group is the one I’m usually in.  We go wait by the gate to the left until Thorim engages, then someone pulls the lever and we run in.  We generally have 1 tank, 1-2 healers, and all the caster dps.  There is trash and two mini-bosses to plow through in order to rescue the arena group.  The trash up to the first mini-boss is pretty simple; kill the Acolyte (Note to my mage friends:  if it is an Acolyte, then its heal needs to be interrupted, kk?) first then the Guardians while playing Dodge the Fireball.  The miniboss will raise one hand with fire and throw a fireball down that side of the tunnel.  Watch his hand and move to the opposite side of tunnel-o-flame (we have someone call it on vent to prevent dumb wipes).

Kill the first miniboss while the whole group is stacked up on his butt a la Attumen & Midnight.  As soon as the door opens, kill the Acolyte standing there and then let your tank run the spawning mobs up the stairs to stop the spawns.  Kill the second Acolyte once you get to the top of the stairs and then kill the second miniboss.  Run away from anyone who has a skull on their head as they become a stationary bomb that will hurt you (a lot).  As soon as the second miniboss is down, kill the adds and head in past Thorim and into the arena (careful–if you manage to do this and engage Thorim in under 3 minutes, you enter Hard Mode).

Phase 2

After all of that mess in Phase 1, this should seem relatively easy.  Clean up the adds left in the arena and start dpsing the boss.  The biggest thing you need to watch for are Lightning Charges.  You’ll see two streams of light traveling along the ground in a direction.  Get away from them, because once he finishes charging the orb, it’s going to blow up at you in a pie-slice shaped AoE.  You don’t want to be standing there when it happens.  Other than that, I just stand wherever I stop and dps him until I have to move again.

It might take you a few tries to figure out how to divide your groups, but once you get it, you’ll be collecting the loot and moving onto Mimiron.

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Heroic Ulduar: Razorscale

Razorscale was fun; I enjoyed every minute of it, even the wiping part.  I found it refreshing to discuss in-the-pit strats.  As our GM put it, “I don’t remember the last time that we were doing a boss without a bosskiller step-step strat on the easel next to my monitor.”

First, the basics of the fight:

There are two phases.  During phase one, you kill dark irons while the Expedition team repairs 4 harpoon launchers.  You don’t want to let the dark irons interfere with the repairs.  As soon as each harpoon launcher is repaired, it can be fired up into Razorscale.  After the fourth harpoon, Razorscale will drop to the ground for you to attack.  After being stunned for a short while, she will release a flame breath and take back off into the air.  Rinse and repeat until she hits 50%.  Oh yeah, and while you’re doing his, Razorscale is dropping human-sized frostfire bolts and big blue fireballs that turn into patches of flame at people.

Once she hits 50%, phase 2 begins.  She drops to the ground and it’s a tank and spank from there.

killshot copy

Now, after several wipes, how we finally did it:

Phase 1

Harpoon Launchers

We had one person (a tank, so that he could hold an oncoming dwarf long enough for someone else to get it if necessary) monitoring repairs and launching harpoons.  He warned us when the repairs on the fourth harpoon were done so we could be prepared for Razorscale landing.


Somehow, though we’ve all done the avoidance dance before, we end up relearning it every few bosses.  The fireballs come from above.  Some hit just one player; some become big patches of blue flame on the ground.  My personal rule of thumb for this fight:  if you see a ball of fire moving towards your head or someone near you, don’t wait to find out which one it is.  Move.

Dark Irons

We had three tanks, each with a separate raid icon they used to identify their target.  Each tank had a healer who healed the tank and the dps in range of that particular tank.  Whichever tank we were near, we assisted.

There are several types of dark irons with different abilities.  The Dark Rune Sentinel is vrykul-sized and does a mean whirlwind.  When a sentinel appeared, it’s tank was announced.  Immediately, the melee scattered from that tank while the ranged assisted.  Kill them quickly; when they appear, it should be your number one goal to get them down.

The Dark Rune Watchers and Dark Rune Guardians are the ones you’ll see the most of.  The Watchers chain lightning, so we made them our priority.  The Guardians mainly affect the tank; their debuff can be dispelled.


The minute Razorscale hit the ground during Phase 1, all dps switched to her and burned cooldowns.  We used heroism the first time she dropped.  Why not save heroism for Phase 2?  Because she has a 10 minute enrage timer, and the sooner you can get her into phase 2, the better.  The only people worried about the trash when Razorscale is on the ground in phase 1 should be the tanks and their healers.  As soon as she takes back off, go back to killing dark irons.

Phase 2

Razorscale hit the ground, and conveniently, the tank we had doing the harpoons picked her up, which meant she was immediately faced away from the raid  (handy, no?).  Use this time to quickly finish off the rest of the remaining trash (they won’t return now) so the other tanks can get up there and start building aggro as well.  I wasn’t paying careful attention, but what I understood from vent leads me to believe that she stacks a debuff on her primary aggro target, and the tanks need to switch off in order to clear their stacks.  For us, this is kill-it time.  Whatever you have left, give it to her.  Healers don’t get a break, either; we lost a tank or two before she died.

If your raid manages to stay alive through this and beat the timer, you win.

Really, strat wise, it’s a pretty easy fight.  It’s in the execution that you find the sticky spots.  As Deadly Boss Mods says, good luck and have fun!


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