Category Archives: Melee

Encounter write ups

Just a quick one.

I have started to put together some encounter write ups using the strategies we use in my guild; Labyrinth of Lost Souls.

The first one is now up!  Funnily enough it’s Magmaw.

Check it out, hopefully it contains some tips you can use to help you refine your current approach.  On the flip side, if you know of any additional tricks, post a comment and let me know!

You can find the write ups using the menu option at the top of the site, or you can go straight to the Magmaw writeup there using this link: LoLS Magmaw Strat.




A great finish to a great raiding week

Last post I said that we were looking to push on in Bastion of Twilight that night and see how we went on some new bosses.

After doing some clandestine research in my lunch break at work, I was quietly confident that we would do OK.  From what I saw, both the Dragon Twins and the Ascendant Council didn’t look too hard, just a matter of not standing in crap.

The trash wasn’t kind to us last night, providing naught even a glimmer of purple.

The Dragon Twins, Valiona and Theralion took us seven attempts to get down.  Whilst there seems to be a fair bit going on in that fight, once you get the hang of the fairly basic collapse-expand technique on Valiona and stack and move (ranged) technique on Theralion the fight is pretty straight forward.  Throw in the somewhat chaotic transition phases where there is quite a bit of movement and it took us a few goes to learn it all.  You can watch all the videos you like, but you learn best by doing it.  But once we had given it a few goes it was just a matter of sticking one.

The Ascendant Council is a dichotomy of control and chaos.  The first phase with the fire and ice elementals is easy enough to control, raid members just need to be aware of what debuffs they have and what to do with them.  Burning through Ignacious’ shield as fast possible also seems like a good idea.  The 2nd pair of earth and air moves a little further away from control towards chaotic as everyone runs around attempting to get the appropriate buff.  The final phase can no longer be classified as controlled.  The tank is moving the Monstrosity around out of the defile-like pools like a madman whilst everyone else goes nuts on him or tries to keep everyone alive from the increasing amounts of raid damage been thrown around.

Fun fight though.  I always find my heart pounding towards the end of those fights where it’s a dps race.  I’m not usually a button spammer (unlike our raid leader, through whose mic we hear exceedingly large numbers of key clicks) but when we hit one of those fights I tend to press my keys just that little bit more.  Took us ten tries to down the Council for the first time, and considering that half of those were wipes in the first minute of each phase, I think we did fairly well.

So, overall we knocked over two new bosses.  That’s puts us at 8/12, and we haven’t even looked at the Conclave yet, which from what I hear is an easy fight.  Chatting after the raid, we came to the conclusion that hitting up BWD for the first couple of months and learning the Cata raiding ropes there put us in a good position to get through the BoT bosses much faster than we may have otherwise.   For example: I think the hardest boss we have done so far  is Atramedes; not that many mechanics but requires good raid awareness and coordination.  We have hardened ourselves to the trials and tribulations of Cata raiding (break yourselves upon my body indeed).

Overall, I think that was the best week of raiding we have had in a while.  4/5 in BWD and 1/4 BoT on the first night (including a 1st kill of Halfus) followed up by 2 new bosses in BoT on the second.  That gave us a return of a boss kill every 45 minutes.  Not too shabby.

I will write-up some proper thoughts on how the 3 BoT fights go soon, might wait until I have tanked them though.  For this week I was running as Frost to fill a melee gap.

Still, next week may provide that opportunity so look out for those posts in the near future.  In the meantime I’m going to work on some more screen shots and develop that section of the blog a bit more.  May hit up the PvP levelling a little as well, I’ll put up some more thoughts on that as I go.

Still pumped from a good raiding week!

Theralion: You are not the boss of me Valiona! I will engulf as I please!



Atramedes as Melee


In between dodging sonic circles, sonic bombs, sonic fire on the ground and in the air and some sort of death laser ability, Atramedes is actually (I think) a fun fight.  The best thing is, the fight only needs one tank so I can spec frost and get my dps on!
The fight itself is another Cataclysm encounter that moves away from the stand on X, do Y and Z will happen mantra and more to a mindset of making sure you are keeping yourself alive and raid aware to eventually kill the boss (like Omnotron).
The fight employs a mechanic somewhat like the insanity meter in the Ulduar Yogg-Saron fight.  Basically, if you take any sort of damage from the boss, you gain sound.  The more sound you have, the greater the amount of damage you take from the boss – so it’s a circular arrangement.  If you reach 100 sound, the boss will kill you.  TLDR: sound bad.

As a melee dps, what you need to do is very similar to the tank so I will cover both roles here.  There are a few abilities that you must stay on top of to survive this fight.  There are two phases to the fight, both of which I will go through.

In the first phase, in which the boss is on the ground being tanked near the stairs, the following abilities are in play:
Sonar Pulse:  This sends out concentric circles (about 4 per cast) that must be avoided.  Essentially you need to strafe to one side and find a gap in between two circles, trying not to let one touch you.  The trick to avoiding these as melee is to anticipate them.  First, try and stay at max melee range.  Atramedes has quite a large hit box so you can stand a fair way back.  Second, as soon as you see the circles appear underneath the boss, start to move in a direction.  This is because the rings are targeting a player and will move in a straight line towards the position the player was in at the time of targeting.  If you are on the move early you can find a gap earlier.  This is the same for both melee dps and tanks.
Sonic Breath:  Atramedes casts a flame breath at a player who must move to one side and “kite” the flame around.  The tank shouldn’t get targeted for this, so no need to worry!  For melee, just run to one side, away from where the ranged are standing, in a tight circle around the boss.  He will follow you, but if you reacted fast enough you should be fine.  See one of my earlier screen shots for this ability in action.
In this phase the boss also does some unavoidable aoe, but this must simply be healed through.
In the second phase, Atramedes is in the air and the tank simply becomes another target.

The only ability you need to be concerned about is Roaring Flame Breath.  The other abilities constitute crap on the ground that you shouldn’t stand in.   The Breath however, is a pain.  It will target the player with the highest sound and follow them.  If it hits them it both increases their sound and does some nasty damage.  Best way to avoid it is to always be on the move.  That way if it targets you, you already have a start on it.  It will speed up the longer it chases you so this is where the shields around the edge of the room come in.

In the ground phase, the shields should have been controlled by a ranged as they are closer to them.  During the ground phase they are used to stop Atramedes casting Searing Flame.  Too many ticks of that and it’s a wipe.  The shields should be hit as soon as he starts casting it, preferably even before it ticks.  When a shield is hit in any phase, all players sound is reset to zero.
In the air phase, the shields fulfil a slightly different role.  When one is hit, it causes the Roaring Flame Breath to stop following its current target and switch the player that hit the shield.  For this reason its best a player with some form of sprint does this.  We use a rogue.  They hit the shield and start running, popping sprint when the Breath gets close.  If you time this right, that’s all the kiting you should need to do.  The boss is in the air for 40 seconds, most of which the Breath must be kited.
Ideally you are looking at using only 1 shield per phase.  The problem is there are only 10 shields and each can only be used once.  This acts as the soft enrage.  If all the shields have been used and subsequently melted, you will wipe shortly because you are no longer able to reset sound levels.  My guild tends to go through 4 air phases leaving us with 2 emergency shields if things get a little hairy.
In the end, the fight is a rinse repeat of the ground/air phase.  It can take a little while for everyone to get the avoidance down pat, but once you do the fight should be fine.
Loved the fact he dropped my dps chest as well!
As always I leave you with this:
Lord Victor Nefarius: Leave now, pathetic alchemist. I anxiously await your next failure.

Blackwing Descent – DK Tanking Magmaw, Omnotron and Maloriak

>Inspired by my guildmate Glowberry’s musings on healing in BWD, here are my thoughts on tanking in the same encounters. This will be a longish read so be warned.


The strategy we use for Magmaw only requires a single main tank, so for this fight I switch to Frost and get my dps on. I actually really enjoy dpsing this fight, not only because I can hit 20k but because I get to do something other than beat on the boss. This fight requires some thought on rune conservation and making sure Frost runes are available for the lava parasites.

From start to finish, here are my thoughts.

Until the first pillar of flame I simply work on the boss while keeping an eye on the pillar of flame cooldown. Once that starts getting under 10 secs, I stop using any abilities that use a Frost or Death rune. This is so that I have the maximum number of Howling Blasts (HB) available for the parasites.

As soon as the pillar falls on our pillar soaker who is standing at range (usually a Mage or Warlock) I run out dropping a Death and Decay over the spawn point. Once in range I then start spamming HB. I have specced into Chillblains and glyphed HB. This means that HB applies Frost Fever to all targets it hits and then Chillblains slow every target affected by Frost Fever by 25%. This gives me time to get 6 or 7 HB’s making sure that I firstly get the threat on all the parasites meaning I kite them away from the raid and secondly do an enormous amount of damage to them (this is sole reason I can hit 20k).

Once the parasites are down I switch back to Magmaw and the process is the same for the second pillar or flame. Once the main tank gets mangled (eaten), there is usually no more pillars, however this is not always the case so you need to stay aware and react accordingly if another one falls.
Once we are in the clear as far as pillars go, I simply wait for Magmaw’s head to be impaled and then go to town on it. The entire fight is just a rinse and repeat of this cycle. Hit the boss, kill the parasites, hit the boss; all whilst avoiding the fire. Cake.


This fight is a little more complicated than Magmaw but still not that bad once you are used to the 4 different golems. Due to the need for 2 tanks in this fight, I have switched back to Blood.

There are 4 bosses in this fight, each with their own set of abilities. Arcanotron uses arcane abilities, Electron uses electrical abilities, Magmatron uses fire abilities and Toxitron uses poison abilities.

By far the worst of these bosses to tank is Arcanotron. He has 2 abilities that make him irritating. The first is Arcane Annihilator, a fast cast that should be interrupted as often as possible. The problem is, a Blood DK only really has 1 reliable interrupt (whose cooldown is longer than Arcanotrons). The other is on too long of a cooldown, requires a blood rune and is on the global cooldown. The second ability is Power Generator, a swirly pool on the ground from which the boss must be moved as soon as possible as it gives a large damage boost to anything standing in it.

The other 3 bosses aren’t too bad from a tanking point of view, pretty much stand and deliver stuff apart from the occasional moving out of Toxitron’s poison cloud. There are however a couple of little niggles that you need to be aware of. The first is the change over, for a short period of time, you have 2 golems beating on you. This is the time when the raid is most likely to wipe as the tanks are tanking much more damage than usual. This can be partly negated by doing 2 things; making sure you have an emergency button available (Icebound Fortitude being the best) and place yourself a distance away from the activating golem where possible so that he has to run to you. Hopefully by the time he gets to you, the previous golem will have deactivated. This is possible because the golems retain their threat tables between activations.

Apart from the above, the only real movement you will have to do in the fight is when kiting Arcanotron around. Our guild employs a strategy whereby we move Arcanotron towards the group of ranged standing towards the rear of the room so that he drops his pools near them. This provides the damage boost but also gives some much needed mana regen. Occasionally the tank not on Toxitron will get a slime focussed on them, which will require some movement away from said slime.

It is also important to remember that you cannot hit the bosses while their shields are up. Thankfully they are only up for a relatively short period of time, namely from 45 to 30 energy. Once you pass 30, feel free to start beating on the boss once more, which in my case gives me the much needed Death Strike heals and blood shield.

This fight is another rinse repeat type deal, except that you need to be aware of what boss is activating next (usually this falls into a pattern after a couple of rounds) and make sure you are positioned correctly as well as proper use of cooldowns. We found it very messy until everyone was fully aware of how to interact with each of the bosses abilities. We are now at a stage where we can get them down in 3-5 attempts.

Its not too bad once you get a handle on it, just need to stay aware of what’s going on.


I started off as the add-tank on Maloriak, but we decided that wasn’t working so well so I switched to tanking him instead.

The shifting red/blue/green phases have no effect on the main tank at all; they are a problem for the dps and heals to worry about. What you do need to concentrate on in those 3 phases is controlling the flow of adds. Maloriak casts 2 add summons per coloured phase. He has a total of 18 small adds and 2 large adds. A small add cast summons 3 adds each time. The large add cast, which occurs at 25% summons 2 large adds. The key to this fight is controlling and killing the adds.

The strategy that we employ is as follows. I, as the main tank, interrupt the first cast of the first coloured phase (red or blue) then let the second cast through along with the following 2 casts of the second coloured phase (red or blue). This gives a total of 9 adds prior to the green phase. In the green phase these adds must be burned down by your dps as fast as possible. If not Maloriak gets kinda pissed and starts hitting you very hard indeed. If the adds don’t die, you most likely will.

However, whilst you are madly popping cooldowns to stay alive, you need to interrupt the 2 add casts in the green phase. These are really important. If they make it through, you will have 3 or 6 adds without the green vial debuff, meaning you won’t be able to kill them, meaning you are much more likely to die. Try very hard to interrupt these casts.

Thankfully the time between casts is longer than the cooldown on your Mind Freeze (MF) so it is possible to only use MF. Be aware that the cast will always follow an arcane storm, so don’t jump the gun and interrupt the storm, let the assigned dps handle that one. Abilities like Curse of Tongues really help here.

The red/blue/green vial phase will occur twice. By assuring that only 9 adds are released each time, you allow your add tank to survive, meaning you don’t wipe. If either tank dies, just reset the fight by running out.

The last phase, which occurs once the boss hits 25%, is a dps race. Maloriak has a 7 minute enrage timer and the first time we killed him, we did it in 6 minutes and 58 seconds… so high dps is a must. In terms of tanking this phase you need to make sure you avoid the fire where possible. There is no cast bar for this ability, but if you are standing in it when it is cast you will be thrown up in the air and suffer moderate fall damage. I finally worked out how to avoid it last night. Before each cast he will stop hitting you and stand in the one spot with his arms in the air. This is your queue to move. Simply strafe to one side as fast as possible. Note that if you don’t move early you will still get caught even if it ‘looks’ like you are out of the fire.

I tend to always move in the same direction, clockwise, so that I always have a direction in which to move. This ends up with me doing tight circles around the boss for the entire last phase. The add tank is kiting the 2 large adds this entire time, don’t even attempt to kill them, just focus on the boss.

I guess that the main tank doesn’t have to be the one interrupting the boss, but because you are always targeting him, it is just easier than sacrificing a dps during the green phase. This aspect of the fight really is key to getting him down. In future gear tiers, the off tank and healers may be able to handle more than 9 at a time which would change your interrupt pattern but for now, 9 at a time is about the limit.
So far I have really enjoyed these fights; they feel a more challenging than Wrath with a lot less room for mistakes. We have just ventured into Chimaeron’s lair so expect some more thoughts on that fight once we get him down.

Until then:

My demise accomplishes nothing! The master will have you! You will drown in your own blood! The world shall burn! Aaaghh!


First Cata Raid – Magmaw down

>With our Guildmaster, who also happens to be our primary raid leader, stuck in traffic last night we meekly with great confidence ventured into our first Cataclysm raid. Along with the majority of raiding guilds out there, we opted to have a go at Magmaw, the first boss of Blackwing Descent.

Before we even started, we encountered our first problem – a lack of healers. We have enough raiders to run two strong teams, but we are short on main spec healers. What that meant in real terms was that some people missed out, something we are hoping to address in the very near future.

After being summoned to the instance (a good thing too, I hadn’t actually checked where in Blackrock Mountain the entrance was) we zoned in and headed left. The first trash pull was straightforward, a single patroling dragonkin. He was dispatched easily enough. The second group wiped us a couple of times until we worked out to get two tanks tanking each mob so that they were the furthest player from the mob there weren’t tanking (they periodically charge, stun and dmg the furthest player from them). The rest of us then stood in the middle. After we worked that out and proceeded to down the skull, the cross went nuts and pretty much 1 shot the entire raid.

OK, what happened there…..

Turns out the remaining mob enrages when its life partner is killed. So take 2. Dps the skull down to 15% then switch to the cross, burn it down then finish off the skull before it goes insane. I wonder how many dragonkin orphans we will create this expansion…

Fortunately that’s all the trash before Magmaw, yep 3 mobs…

The great red worm himself was a fun fight. Im not going to run through his abilities or the stock standard strat we used, check out tankspot or youtube for those. I do like some elements of the fight though. It is very healer intensive, some nasty tank and raid dmg flying around. We started with 1 tank, 2 healers and 7 dps (1 of which was our raid offtank), then switched our tanks so that the bear tank moonlighted (successfully) as our third healer.

For me, the best part of the fight is getting to impale Magmaws head on a spike 🙂 Big numbers start flying as we get a 100% damage increase for that phase. Loved seeing some 40k plus crits floating around the screen!

We started our attempts by getting him down to around 75%, enough so that we got him on the spike. After you have seen that part of the fight you have seen it all, it’s just a rinse-repeat deal from there. After that attempt we had a few where we just missed a pillar of flame or didn’t get the parasites down fast enough and wiped early but overall we steadily pushed his health lower with each attempt.

Prior to the very last attempt of the night our best go had been 48%. Being the raid leader, I gave one of the great inspirational speeches in history (something like: this is our last attempt guys, let’s see how much better than 48% we can get him! Awesome, I know)! Whatever I said or whatever people heard, it worked! We had a pretty much flawless attempt and simply owned him. No deaths.

Big shout out and congratulations to the team last night, awesome work! Labyrinth of Lost Souls first Cata raid and our first Cata raid boss down!

Here is a screenshot; I even labelled Magmaw for you 🙂


The Lich King: Now I stand, the lion before the lambs… and they do not fear.

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