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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Hagara the Stormbinder in Dragon Soul. It is targeted to anyone who desires to understand the fight mechanics.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
Hagara the Stormbinder is a Shaman located in the Eye of Eternity, the instance that used to house Malygos. You access this area by taking a portal from Wyrmrest Temple.
The fight against Hagara is all about proper positioning and coordinated movement. As such, most raids will find this fight to be a breath of fresh air before attempting the gear check that Ultraxion represents.
1. General Information↑top
1.1. Health Pool
1.2. Enrage Timer
The Hagara the Stormbinder encounter has an 8-minute hard enrage timer in Normal mode and a 10-minute hard enrage timer in Heroic mode.
1.3. Raid Composition
2.1. Tier 13 Tokens
2.4. Rings and Trinkets
3. Overview of the Fight↑top
The fight against Hagara is made up of 3 phases: Main Phase, Ice Phase, Lightning Phase. The Main Phase lasts 50 seconds and is followed by either the Ice Phase or the Lightning Phase. The fight goes back to the Main Phase as soon as your raid has finished dealing with the Ice Phase or the Lightning Phase. The Ice Phase and the Lightning Phase alternate in such a way that a fight will usually look like this:
To determine whether you will get an Ice Phase or a Lightning Phase first, simply look at the visual effect on Hagara's weapon before the pull (it will either be a frost effect or a lightning effect).
Each phase will require your raid to properly deal with positioning constraints or to move in a synchronised fashion:
4. Main Phase↑top
The Main Phase is a tank and spank phase. The boss should be kept in the middle of the room and be damaged as much as possible. The ranged group must also deal with a few abilities that mostly require proper positioning and good reaction time.
After 50 seconds, the Main Phase ends and an Ice Phase or a Lightning Phase starts.
During this phase, Hagara will use the following abilities.
Once you understand precisely what the abilities do, the strategy is simple and can be summed up in the four following points:
5. Ice Phase↑top
50 seconds into a Main Phase (if this Main Phase was preceded by a Lightning Phase), Hagara will enter an Ice Phase. Hagara casts Water Shield on herself, which causes her to remain stationary and immune to all damage until the raid has successfully completed the phase.
During the Ice Phase, the raid will be chased around the platform by very deadly Ice Waves. While running to avoid the waves and the Icicles that fall from the sky, the raid will need to destroy 4 Frozen Binding Crystals by attacking them whenever possible.
When all 4 crystals are destroyed, the Water Shield protecting Hagara is removed and she is debuffed with Feedback, which, for 15 seconds, causes her to be stunned and take 100% increased damage. The Main Phase restarts when the debuff drops off Hagara.
During the Ice Phase, your raid will be faced with the following abilities:
Just like with the Main Phase, the strategy for the Ice Phase is simple, once the abilities are properly understood. The simple tasks that raid members will need to perform during this phase are the following (see the image on the right for a visual overview):
To give you an idea, it should take no more than 2 turns around the platform to destroy all 4 Frozen Binding Crystals.
During this phase, healers should have only heal the occasional damage from falling Icicles. Should a player manage to survive being hit by an Ice Wave, they should be healed quickly before they take damage again.
6. Lightning Phase↑top
50 seconds into a Main Phase (if this Main Phase was preceded by an Ice Phase), Hagara will enter a Lightning Phase. When this happens, Hagara casts Water Shield on herself, which causes her to remain stationary and immune to all damage until the raid has successfully completed the phase.
During the Lightning Phase, the raid will have to overload the 4 Crystal Conductors that protect Hagara. Players need to form chains so that lightning propagates through them, eventually reaching the conductors and overloading them.
When all 4 conductors are overloaded, the Water Shield protecting Hagara is removed and she is debuffed with Feedback, which, for 15 seconds, causes her to be stunned and take 100% increased damage. The Main Phase restarts when the debuff drops off Hagara.
During the Lightning Phase, the raid will be faced with a Bound Lightning Elemental, whose death causes the overload of a nearby conductor, which the raid then uses as a source for propagating lightning to the other conductors. There are three things to note about this Elemental:
Also, the raid will take constant damage from Lightning Storm. Every 2-3 seconds, this ability hits 3/4 random players in 10-man difficulty and 7/8 players in 25-man and LFR difficulties. Each player takes 15,000 Nature damage in 10-man difficulty, 17,500 in 25-man difficulty, and about 10,000 in LFR difficulty. Every time a player is hit by Lightning Storm, they receive a stack of a debuff that increases Nature damage taken by 5% per stack.
Just as with the other two phases, the main difficulty of this phase resides in understanding what the abilities do. Then, the strategy is simple.
As the phase begins, a Bound Lightning Elemental spawns and needs to be picked up by the tank. This add must then be brought next to 1 of the 4 Crystal Conductors and killed. This will cause the chosen Crystal Conductor to become overloaded.
From this point on, your raid will propagate the lightning emitted by the overloaded Crystal Conductor to another Crystal Conductor. This will cause the other Crystal Conductor to also become overloaded. To do so, the players from the raid need to create a chain to propagate lightning from the overloaded Crystal Conductor to the other Crystal Conductor. Once this is done, the newly overloaded Crystal Conductor can be used as the source of a new chain that will overload one the remaining, non-overloaded Crystal Conductors.
As you can see from the screenshots, the chain does not need to be perfect. The maximal range for lightning propagation seems to be around 10 yards. If, somewhere in the chain, the distance between two consecutive players go over the maximal range, a few seconds will elapse before the end of the chain loses the lightning, giving enough time for overloading the targeted Crystal Conductor before the lightning runs out.
Because Lightning Storm cause players to take increased Nature damage in this phase, healers will have to face increasingly heavy damage. To alleviate this, the raid should switch to Nature resistance during this phase by using either of Aspect of the Wild from a Hunter and Elemental Resistance Totem or Healing Stream Totem (improved with Glyph of Healing Stream Totem) from a Shaman.
Mages ( Ice Block), Paladins ( Divine Shield) and Rogues ( Cloak of Shadows) can and should remove their stacks of Lightning Storm when they start taking too much damage.
With a bit of practice, you can divide your raid in 2 groups that will go overload the crystals around the platform in opposite directions. This allows the raid to spend less time in the Lightning Phase (and therefore take less damage from Lightning Storm).
7. When to Use Bloodlust, Heroism, or Time Warp?↑top
Bloodlust, Heroism, or Time Warp should be used at the end of an Ice Phase or a Lightning Phase, so as to benefit from the 100% increased damage that the boss takes for 15 seconds.
8. Learning the Fight↑top
The execution of the fight does not require much practice as the raid is not faced with overly complex tasks. The only part that may pose problems is the overloading of the 4 Crystal Conductors in the Lightning Phase.
Regarding these Crystal Conductors, it is important to note that Water Shield has a duration of 300 seconds, which probably means that the raid has 300 seconds to complete the Lightning Phase. So there is ample time to practice overloading the Crystal Conductors, as long as the raid can survive the increasing damage from Lightning Storm.
9. Heroic Mode↑top
The Heroic version of the fight with Hagara is extremely similar to the normal version of the fight. The differences between Normal and Heroic mode are the following:
9.1. Main Phase
In the Main Phase, the missiles from Ice Lance now apply a stacking debuff that increases Frost damage taken by 25%. The debuff lasts 3 seconds, so anyone stacking Ice Lance missiles will end up taking +375% Frost damage.
By itself, this debuff does not prevent a player from soaking all 15 Ice Lance missiles, as they only deal 15,000 damage each. The problem comes from a player taking +375% increased Frost damage and being targeted by Shattered Ice, which deals about 100,000 Frost damage in Heroic mode.
Therefore, you need to have two players on each Ice Lance. By alternating every 2 or 3 seconds, they enable to debuff to drop, thus making the damage from Shattered Ice manageable if they are targeted by it.
Also, Focused Assault can no longer be entirely avoided. Tanks still have to move out of the attack, but Hagara will catch up much faster. To survive, defensive cooldowns and healing cooldowns will be needed.
9.1.1. 10-man Specific Advice
In 10-man groups, Shattered Ice is a lot more likely to target someone under the effect of the debuff from Ice Lance. To prevent this, there are a few strategies that you can use:
9.2. Dealing with Frostflake in the Ice Phase
In the Ice Phase, Hagara will target a random player with Frostflake. This debuff does no damage but it slows down the targeted player and stacks every seconds, meaning that the player will eventually come to an almost complete stop. When dispelled, the debuff leaves a Frostflake Snare on the ground. Every player standing in this 10-yard radius frost area is slowed down by 50%. Exiting the frost area removes the movement speed reduction.
The problem with this debuff is that, during the Ice Phase, raid players keep moving together to attack the Frozen Binding Crystals and avoid the Ice Waves. Therefore, dispelling the debuff immediately is not recommended, as this runs the risk that players get slowed and subsequently caught by the Ice Wave.
One possible strategy is to have targeted players enter the Watery Entrenchment and be dispelled there. They will take a few ticks of damage, but this should be manageable and the Frostflake Snare will be out of everyone's way (currently, dispelling Frostflake inside the Watery Entrenchment prevents the Frostflake Snare from being created). Another possible strategy is that targeted players move to the edges of the platform to be dispelled, though this means that other players need to be careful and stay away from the edge.
9.3. Dealing with Storm Pillars in the Lightning Phase
In the Lightning Phase, Hagara will regularly summon Storm Pillars. These pillars have a visual effect that looks like a ring. 3 seconds after they have spawned, they explode and deal 35,000 Nature damage to all players within 5 yards.
The idea is to circumvent these pillars when making a lightning chain between the conductors. It is also perfectly viable to ignore them, provided that you can heal the damage, which increases as Lightning Storm stacks build up.
9.4. Beating the Enrage Timer
To beat the enrage timer, you will need to spend as little time as possible in the Ice Phase and the Lightning Phase, where the boss is immune to damage.
9.4.1. Ice Phase
Below, you will find a list of tips to shorten the duration of the Ice Phase.
To destroy all the crystals, your raid will normally need to go around the platform twice (although you should manage to destroy the first crystal during the first pass). To speed up this process, you should do as much damage as possible on the 3rd and 4th crystal. Then, while the bulk of the raid goes for a second pass to finish off the 1st and 2nd crystal, a few DPS players should be left to finish off the 3rd and 4th crystal. The idea is the 3rd and the 4th crystals should be destroyed at around the same time as the 2nd crystal.
Several DPS classes can be left on the 3rd and 4th crystal, thanks to their ability to avoid or reduce the damage from the Ice Waves and/or Watery Entrenchment, though any player can easily survive the 2 or 3 ticks of Watery Entrenchment that it takes to avoid an Ice Wave:
9.4.2. Alternative Ice Phase Strategy: Stacking in Watery Entrenchment
A totally different strategy is to have the entire raid, save the melee DPS and the tank, stack up on Hagara. This will enable the ranged DPS to have a 100% uptime on the crystals (making the phase shorter), at the cost of a much increased raid damage (which will require a good AoE healing setup).
This strategy changes nothing for melee DPS and the tank who will still have to run around the platform and get their Frostflake debuff dispelled on the edge or inside the Watery Entrenchment.
Note that the damage from Watery Entrenchment is based on players' health, so it is advised to disable raid buffs such as Power Word: Fortitude or Commanding Shout, and to avoid using cooldowns such as Rallying Cry.
9.4.3. Lightning Phase
During the Lightning Phase, you will want to overload all the Crystal Conductors within a few seconds of the death of the Bound Lightning Elemental. To achieve this, the chains of players from one Conductor to another will be pre-established and each player will have a pre-determined location to go to. The add will also always be killed on the same Conductor, so that you can assign melee players a position close to this Conductor, while DPS players will be assigned positions that are further away. Each player should try to reach their position at the moment the add dies (depending on how far it is, they might have to start moving long before the add dies).
In 25-man difficulty, 6 players are required to conductor lightning from one Conductor to the other and you only need to make 3 chains.
In 10-man difficulty, you need 2 players for each chain and you have to make 7 chains (there are 8 conductors in 10-man Heroic difficulty, up from 4 in 10-man Normal difficulty), meaning that some players will need to participate in the overloading of more than just one conductor. The diagram shows a possible strategy with 4 groups, one made up of healers that will not move (so they can keep healing) and 3 others that will have to move
Note that from a single Crystal Conductor, you can propagate lightning to several other Crystal Conductors.
Finally, you should ignore the Storm Pillars when they spawn in the path of one of the chain of players and heal through the damage that they deal.
10. Achievement: Holding Hands↑top
The Holding Hands achievement is part of the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider meta-achievement. The achievement is rather straightforward and is linked to the Lightning Phase.
What you need to do is overload the last Crystal Conductor by using a chain of players made up of the entire raid. You cannot have most of the raid stacked together somewhere in the chain, with a few players doing the actual lightning conduction part. You have to make a continuous chain of players. If players are too close, this runs the risk that the lightning will jump a player.
In 10-man difficulty, there is a lot of available room to make the chain, so obtaining the achievement should not be a problem.
In 25-man difficulty, however, you will need to create a sort of semi-circle from one overloaded conductor to the final conductor. To make it easier, you can make the chain start from the overloaded conductor that is diametrically opposed to the final conductor. This will give your raid ample room to maneuver.
The achievement triggers as soon as the final conductor is destroyed. You do not need to kill the boss, which is good news for raids who want to get the achievement but not kill the boss on Normal mode.
11. Concluding Remarks↑top
This concludes the strategy guide for Hagara the Stormbinder. We think that many guilds will enjoy progressing on this fight as dealing with the various positioning challenges can be quite fun.
As always, we would be pleased to read any feedback that you have (typos, suggestions, praise, etc.) by e-mail or in a comment below.