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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Atramedes in Blackwing Descent. It is mostly targeted to healers who desire to have a short but detailed overview of what is expected of them during that fight.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
In the Atramedes encounter, the amount of healing necessary will mostly depend on whether your raid manages to avoid Atramedes' abilities. As a healer, you role will not only be to heal but also to make sure your fellow raid members react properly because every time they fail, subsequent abilities will deal an increasing amount of damage.
1. Overview of the fight↑top
Atramedes is a blind dragon. He uses sound to locate his enemies and that concept is largely reflected in the mechanics of the encounter.
The encounter itself consists of two alternating phases: Ground Phase (80 seconds), and Air Phase (40 seconds) during which the raid will essentially focus on avoiding Atramedes' abilities.
1.1. Ground Phase
Atramedes' melee attack is rather weak and should pose no problem.
1.2. Air Phase
2. Trash Groups↑top
Two groups of four NPCs are guarding the room where you will be fighting Atramedes. Defeating them is necessary to gain access to the boss.
These two groups have similar, non-trivial mechanics. Each NPC has a specific ability (can be a spell, a buff or a debuff). When an NPC dies, he heals the remaining members of his group to full health, and transfers them his ability. This means that the NPCs in each group need to be killed in a precise order, so as to avoid spreading the most harmful ability first.
The only thing to watch out for in the right side group is the Whirlwind ability that is very damaging when there is only one NPC left alive. Expect high damage on the melee DPS and be ready to heal it.
The NPCs in the left side group have AoE abilities, so healers should spread out from other raid members.
3. Sound Mechanics↑top
Atramedes' abilities, in addition to dealing damage, add sound to the raid members. Initially, everyone is at 0 sound and this value increases every time they are hit. The increase depends on the ability and the amount of sound the player already had. Whenever someone's sound reaches 100, they are killed by Atramedes.
The only way to reset the sound of everyone in your raid group is to use a gong. Ideally, you should never have to do that and the gongs should be saved for dealing with specific abilities that we will present in the Ground Phase and the Air Phase sections.
Graphically, the amount of sound a player has is displayer by a sound counter (or sound bar) that looks like this in the default UI:
The small dot in the middle will grow as sound accumulates. If you want to display the numerical value for your sound count, you will need to configure your unit frame or boss addon.
Using invulnerabilities like Divine Shield or Ice Block does not prevent you from getting sound. Instead, if you try to bypass a boss mechanics with such an ability, you will probably end up with 100 sound as soon as the ability ends and will subsequently be killed by the boss.
4. Ground Phase↑top
The Ground Phase lasts 80 seconds and is the initial phase of the fight. A great part of the damage is avoidable so if your raid members perform properly there should be no difficulty healing them.
Modulation is cast 4 to 5 times during the Ground Phase. The damage it deals and the sound it adds are not avoidable. It cannot be cast within 6 seconds of Searing Flame, another ability of Atramedes that we present in this section.
4.1. Dealing with Sonic Breath and Sonar Pulse
Regardless of which positioning strategies, among the many possibilities, your raid will use, you will normally be assigned to stack with a group of other raid members (possibly with the entire raid).
It is essential that you stay stacked with your group. When Sonar Pulse is cast, the disks it summons will travel towards randomly chosen raid members. A properly stacked group will have no problem avoiding the seemingly unique disk that will come towards it.
If Sonic Breath targets someone from your group, the targeted player will have been assigned a direction to run to and the other group members will have to move slightly in the opposite direction so as to avoid being hit if the targeted raid member is a bit slow to react.
To help dealing with the breath attack:
4.2. Dealing with Searing Flame
As a healer, you can be assigned the crucial task of dealing with Searing Flame (10-man, 25-man) the second important ability of the Ground Phase. Your boss mod (DBM for example) should warn you in advance that this ability is coming. In that case, simply move towards an Ancient Dwarven Shield (one of the gongs positioned on the edges of the room) and be ready to hit it as soon as Atramedes starts casting Searing Flame in order to interrupt the cast. This will also reset everyone's sound.
Healing through Searing Flame should not be an issue if the cast is properly interrupted. Interrupting it too late usually causes a wipe.
Searing Flame leaves flames on the ground (Roaring Flame) and players should obviously avoid standing in them.
5. Air Phase↑top
When the Ground Phase ends, Atramades will take off and remain in the air for 40 seconds: this is the Air Phase during which the raid will be on the move almost constantly to avoid abilities while, for those who can, trying to deal some damage to Atramedes.
After 40 seconds, Atramedes will land and the Ground Phase will resume.
5.1. General Strategy
Atramedes will constantly be casting Sonar Bomb. This ability spawns 5 disks in 10-man difficulty, and 8 disks in 25-man difficulty, at random raid members location. A disk does not move and only serve to mark the location where, after 3 seconds, a bomb will be dropped, dealing damage and adding sound.
In addition, you will need to avoid flames on the ground because they trigger Roaring Flame when you pass through them. These flames either come from Roaring Flame Breath, a breath attack which targets the player with the highest amount of sound and leaves a trail of flame on the ground for 45 seconds, or are spawned by Atramedes at random locations in which case they only remain for 30 seconds.
5.2. Searing Flame
If you have the highest amount of sound when the Air Phase begins, Atramedes will target you with Roaring Flame Breath, a breath attack that will chase you. In that case, you need to run around the room in a circular manner. The breath will eventually catch up with you. When that is about to happen, a designated player will hit an Ancient Dwarven Shield (gong) which will cause the breath to target them.
If you are a Druid or a Shaman, it is very likely that you will be asked to be that designated player. Indeed, thanks to your speed enhancing abilities ( Dash and Stampeding Roar for Druids, and Ghost Wolf with Glyph of Ghost Wolf for Shamans), you can outrun the breath for a much longer time than other players.
If you are a Priest and that your raid contains no Druid or Shaman, then you might be asked to fill their role and use Inner Will to keep you ahead of the breath.
6. Heroic Mode↑top
From a healer perspective, the fight remains exactly the same. You simply need to handle more damage (a large part of which is avoidable). One mention should be made regarding Sonar Bombs in the Air Phase, which drop a lot faster in Heroic Mode, giving you a lot less time to move out of their landing spot.