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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of theencounter with Warmaster Blackhorn in Dragon Soul. It is targeted to anyonewho desires to understand the fight mechanics.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
Warmaster Blackhorn is the 6th boss encounter within the Dragon Soul raid.The encounter takes place on a flying gunship from which the players willparachute down onto Deathwing's back (for the next encounter),if they defeat Warmaster Blackhorn.
The encounter is comprised of two phases: one that requires the raid todeal with a variety of adds and one that is essentially a tank and spankburn phase.
1. General Information↑top
1.1. Health Pool
1.2. Enrage Timer
In 10 and 25-man difficulty, the encounter with Warmaster Blackhorn has ahard enrage timer of 4 minutes, counted from the moment when Phase Twobegins. In LFR difficulty, there is no enrage timer.
1.3. Raid Composition
The following raid compositions are advised:
2.1. Tier 13 Tokens
2.4. Rings and Trinkets
3. Overview of the Fight↑top
The Warmaster Blackhorn encounter takes place on a flying gunship calledSkyfire. The Skyfire has a health pool and can be damaged by variousabilities during the encounter. Aside from defeating Warmaster Blackhorn, youwill also have to ensure the survival of your ship, if you wish to succeedin this encounter.
The encounter is a two phase fight. During the firstphase, your raid will mainly have to deal with 4 different types of adds (3types of adds in LFR). You will also have to watch out for many void zones inwhich you must stand in order to protect the gunship. If 3 waves of adds aredealt with successfully, the second phase will begin. During this phase, yourraid will have to deal with Warmaster Blackhorn himself.
4. Phase One↑top
The encounter begins when you talk to Captain Swayze. During this phase,you will not fight Warmaster Blackhorn (he is flying in the air, on his drake,Goriona). Your raid will be under constant assault from Goriona as wellas from four types of adds:
Below, we will list all of the abilities that Goriona and the Twilight addswill use during this phase. After that, we will provide you with the adequatestrategy for completing the phase.
Goriona uses a single ability during this phase: Twilight Onslaught (10-man/25-man/LFR).This launches a large projectile at a random location on the gunship(represented visually by a void zone), roughly every 35 seconds. Once the(slow traveling) projectile lands there, it deals a large amount of damage(1,500,000 in LFR difficulty, 800,000 in 10-man difficulty and 2,000,000damage in 25-man difficulty), split between all players within its (10 yard)area and the gunship.
Simply put, most (if not all) of your raid members will need to stack inthese void zones, in order to split the damage (making it healable) and toprotect the gunship from taking too much damage.
4.1.2. Twilight Assault Drakes
Twilight Assault Drakes initially drop off the other 3 types of adds. Afterthey drop off the adds, however, they remain around the gunship, firingsmaller and less harmful versions of Goriona's Twilight Onslaught (10-man/25-man/LFR) atthe ship. Their ability is called Twilight Barrage, and it should,essentially, be dealt with in the same way as Twilight Onslaught.
It is important to note that, unlike Twilight Onslaught, Twilight Barragewill not deal any damage to the Skybreaker as long as at least one playertakes damage from it.
The number and frequency of Twilight Barrage will depend on how manyTwilight Assault Drakes are alive at the time, but essentially, they happenonly a few seconds apart.
4.1.3. Twilight Elite Dreadblades and Twilight Elite Slayers
Twilight Elite Dreadblades and Twilight Elite Slayers are adds with distinctWarrior characteristics. In addition to a dealing moderate damage withtheir melee attacks, they each perform two abilities (one is sharedbetween them and the other leaves a stacking DoT).
Neither Degeneration nor Brutal Strike appears to havea fixed frequency of application. Rather, the mobs seem to apply this every7-20 seconds, and the application can be dodged or parried.
The only players affected by these cone attacks should be the tanks. Inorder to reset the stacks of the DoTs, tanks will need to switch the addsbetween them.
4.1.4. Twilight Sappers
Twilight Sappers are adds that focus entirely on damaging the gunship.Immediately after being dropped off by the drakes, these adds will goinvisible, before reappearing a few seconds later.
After reappearing, the adds will run towards the back of the ship, casting Detonate if they reach it. This deals 20% of the ship's maximum healthin damage, and also deals some damage to players within 8 yards of theexplosion.
Phase One is all about add control and raid damage. Your goal is to survive3 waves of adds, while also keeping the gunship from being destroyed. Each wave ofadds consists of 1 Twilight Elite Dreadblade, 1 Twilight Elite Slayerand 2 Twilight Assault Drakes. Twilight Sappers appear to spawn on aseparate cooldown, not directly linked to the waves, and you will probablyhave to kill 5-6 of them before Phase Two starts.
4.2.1. Handling the Adds
Essentially, you will want your tanks to pick up theTwilight Elite Dreadblades and the Twilight Elite Slayers as soon asthey land, and start DPSing them. It is ideal to killone before damaging the other, so that there are fewer DoTs for your tanks toworry about.
Tanks should face the Dreadblades away from the raid, so that no other playersare affected by the cleave. This is of special importance if the tanks aremoving into the void zones from Twilight Onslaught (10-man/25-man/LFR). It is imperative thatthe adds do not face the location where the raid is stacked.
The Dreadblades and Slayers should be tanked at one of the sides of theship, where the harpooned Twilight Assault Drakes get reeled in. This allowsmelee DPS players to also cleave the drakes when they are in range.
Finally, tanks should alternate which add they tank, on a wave by wavebasis, giving the debuffs a chance to drop off. For example, Tank A tanks theDreadblade on the first wave, the Slayer on the second wave and the Dreadbladeagain on the third wave.
It is possible to ignore one or more Sappers, provided that the gunshiphas enough health to survive the end of the phase (there is no damage to thegunship in Phase Two) and you wish to make betteruse of that DPS time.
Friendly NPCs will regularly harpoon Twilight Assault Drakes, reelingthem in, close to the ship, where they should be damaged by your ranged DPSplayers.
Therefore, the priority for add killing during Phase One is as follows:
4.2.2. Special Mention Regarding the Drakes
Technically speaking, the Twilight Assault Drakes are not part of thewaves. They simply fly around the ship dropping Twilight Barrage.The more Drakes alive, the more Twilight Barrage the raid has to deal with.
Every time a new wave of Twilight Elite Dreadblade andTwilight Elite Slayer appears, the ship NPCs will reel in two Drakesrandomly chosen from amongst the remaining Drakes. If you fail to kill aDrake before the next wave of adds, then it will be released and will goback to launching Twilight Barrage on your raid. This is especiallybad because this already damaged Drake might be reeled in again by theNPCs for the next wave of adds, possibly leaving your ranged DPS tofinish off any remaining drake before Phase Two begins.
4.2.3. Soaking the Void Zones
Simply dealing with the adds is not sufficient to complete this phasesuccessfully. Your raid members will need to constantly soak the damage fromthe void zones: Twilight Barrage and Twilight Onslaught (10-man/25-man/LFR), in order tokeep the damage done to the gunship under control.
Twilight Barrage is easy to soak. It deals a low amount of Shadow damage(150,000 in LFR difficulty and 200,000 in 10 and 25-man difficulty). As aresult, it is enough if two players move into these void zones. If a playeris topped off (especially a tank), they can soak these alone.
If the ship's health is dangerously low, for some reason, then you shouldhave more players soaking, in order to reduce the damage that the shiptakes. Ranged DPS players and healers should be preferred for this task, as theycan generally continue to perform their duties even while standing away fromthe adds.
Twilight Onslaught will require a much larger number of your raid membersto soak efficiently. You should always aim to have your entire raid soakingthese, in order to keep the damage manageable and to avoid sudden deaths.
5. Phase Two↑top
After 3 waves of adds have been defeated (specifically, when all theTwilight Assault Drakes are killed), Warmaster Blackhorn jumps on theship, marking the start of Phase Two.
During this phase, you will initially have to damage Goriona (who is stillflying in the air, alongside the gunship), after which you will have to focusentirely on Blackhorn. Also, the gunship no longer takes damage, so the entireraid should focus on Goriona and Blackhorn while avoiding damaging abilities.
We will present you with the abilities of this phase before explaining thestrategy.
Goriona has a single ability that she uses during this phase: Twilight Flames. This launches a ball of flame at a randomplayer, dealing massive damage at the location where the ball lands. Additionally,flames will persist on the ship for a short while, in that location, dealingmoderate damage every second to players standing there.
Goriona is in range of ranged DPS players who must attack her.Once she reaches 25% health, she will fly away, leaving the encounter.
5.1.2. Warmaster Blackhorn
Warmaster Blachorn uses the following abilities during Phase Two:
This phase is much simpler and a lot less chaotic than Phase One. As soonas the phase begins, a tank should pick up Blackhorn and move him to the centerof the ship.
Melee DPS players should attack Blackhorn, while ranged DPS players shouldaim at bringing Goriona to 25% health as soon as possible. Everyone will need tomove out of the fire from Goriona.
Once Goriona leaves the fight (when she reaches 25% health), everyone can focus fully on WarmasterBlackhorn. Follow the steps below to ensure a smooth kill:
Healers should expect moderate to heavy tank and raid damage. The boss' Vengeance will cause him to deal increasing amounts ofdamage.
As the fight progresses, tanks should work out a defensive cooldownrotation, and should coordinate with healers for a better result.
6. Learning the Fight↑top
As the two phases of this encounter are quite distinct from one another,you will have to master each of them on its own.
For Phase One, your most important goal, to begin with, is to keep theSkyfire alive. So, focus on soaking the void zones and (if needed) killing theSappers.
Once your DPS players are comfortable with the movement required, killingthe Dreadblades and Slayers efficiently should not be a problem.
Phase Two's greatest challenges will be stabilising the raid's health whileboth Blackhorn and Goriona are active. At the same time, the raid will need todeal with increasing damage and, towards the very end of the fight, healersout of mana.
7. Heroic Mode↑top
The Warmaster Blackhorn heroic encounter is a clear step-up in difficultyand complexity from other previous heroic encounters (only Ultraxioncompares, although it is much simpler).
The difficulty does not come from a single ability in particular, but fromthe combination of the changes from normal mode. The fight is especially hardon the healers. Moreover, the DPS required to kill each wave of adds in timeis quite high.
7.1. Differences from Normal Mode
The fight has a very similar feel to its normal mode version, and eventsoccur in the same sequence. However, several changes exist, that make theencounter significantly more difficult:
In addition to this, all enemies have increased health pools and everythingdeals more damage.
The strategy for the heroic mode is practically identical to that of thenormal mode version of the fight. However, a few things must be kept in mindin order to properly deal with the different mechanics. We will detail allof these things below.
7.2.1. The Pull
There is a very useful tactic that your raid can utilise on the pull. Beforeengaging the boss, have your ranged DPS players positioned at the top of theship (by climbing up the stairs next to the cabin), as close to the edgeas possible. From there, they will be able to attack one of theTwilight Assault Drakes right as the encounter beings, as it is flyingby.
Your ranged DPS players should nuke it as hard as they can and, if itis not dead, DoT it as well. With proper burst (especially if you have aranged DPS heavy raid composition), you can kill this drake right away.
Additionally (or alternatively), you can also DoT Goriona, who willbe in range for a few seconds. This will make Phase Two slightly easier.
All throughout Phase One, parts of the deck of the ship will catch fire.These fire patches act like any void zones, damaging players who stand inthem. They will be put out, regularly, by friendly NPCs, and they are whollyout of the control of the raid.
From a tactical point of view, this does not change things very much; itmerely limits positioning and can cause some problems in that regard.
7.2.3. Twilight Barrage
Dealing with the Shadow damage increasing debuff from Twilight Barrage isquite simple, due to the low duration of the debuff. Essentially, eachTwilight Barrage must be soaked by 2 or 3 players, and each time a player isabout to soak Twilight Barrage, they must make sure that they do not currentlyhave the debuff on themselves.
This may require some active coordination among players, although it isnot difficult.
7.2.4. Goriona in Phase Two
Goriona cannot be ignored during this phase because when Warmaster Blackhornreaches 20% health, he will start draining life from her (through Siphon Vitality) and healing himself. Additionally, every time he healshimself, he damages the raid for the same amount.
At 80% health, Goriona will land on the ship and needs to be tanked. At20% (like in Normal Mode), she will fly away. All the strategy changesfor Phase Two revolve around the landing of Goriona, and the newstrategy can be summarised as follows:
During the entire phase, your raid will still have to deal with Blackhorn'snormal abilities (Shockwave, Disrupting Roar and Devastate), although thisbrings no new challenge.
It is best to have the entire raid stacked up and to make use of AoEhealing. This will provide a steady amount of healing on the players affectedby Consuming Shroud (10-man/25-man) while also ensuring that the raid damage iscovered.
Finally, while Goriona is on the ground, the tanks will have to regularlyswitch Warmaster Blackhorn and Goriona between themselves in order to allow forthe Devastate debuff to drop off.
7.2.5. Other Concerns and Tips
Because of the increased damage dealt by all abilities in heroic mode,special care must be taken when handling abilities such as Twilight Onslaught (10-man/25-man) during Phase One and Disrupting Roar (10-man/25-man) duringPhase Two. We strongly recommend using a defensive cooldown for as many ofthese abilities as possible.
Finally, while the fight is not, strictly speaking, a DPS race (not in thesame way that Ultraxion is, for example), having higher DPS will make the fightconsiderably easier. For this reason, it is not advised that you use many (orany, if possible) melee DPS players.
8. Achievement: Deck Defender↑top
In simple terms, this means that every single one of the small void zonesmust be soaked by at least one player (2 or more players is safer, though).There is not special strategy for doing this, other than having your raidspread out and very aware of their surroundings.
One thing that will make the achievement easier to obtain is having all ofyour DPS players (melee included) focus on the Twilight Assault Drakes whenthey are harpooned, as the number of Twilight Barrages depends on the numberof Drakes currently alive.
9. Concluding Remarks↑top
The encounter with Warmaster Blackhorn is reminiscent of the GunshipBattle in Icecrown Citadel. Players will probably find this new fightto be more interesting than its previous incarnation. Also, parachuting onDeathwing's after defeating Blackhorn will be quite memorable.