Saturday, December 11, 2010

[4.0.3a] Heroic Shadowfang Keep Strategy Notes / Guide

[Addendum: I was just going to do one boss per post, but I decided to come back and just flesh out this one post with all of the Heroic Shadowfang Keep Bosses.]

After some mad instancing and questing, my wife and I hit level 85 Thursday and by Friday evening we were working on our first Heroic dungeons.  I would prefer to gear up a bit more first...but my wife *really* wants to do Heroics. :)

On our first one, Deadmines, we were accompanied by a couple of guild members that had already seen it.  On our second dungeon, Shadowfang Keep (SFK), everyone was new to the dungeon.  So, we had to figure things out and I thought I would pass along what worked for us.

We had a Druid Tank (me), Holy Priest Healer (my wife), Druid Caster, Rogue, and Paladin Melee DPS.  That gave us the following CCs that we put to good use:
  • Repentance
  • Shackle Undead
  • Entangling Roots (used very little in this case)
Nota bene: Our average item level was just barely high enough for Heroics, so we tended to deal with fight mechanics rather than just ignore them.
    Baron Ashbury

    This guy was a bit of a pain until we figured out what to do.  Basically, there are two phases to the fight.

    In the first phase, he will alternate between a relatively normal Tank and spank and strangling the entire party.  Your interrupters need to do everything they can to stop his basic heal, Mend Rotten Flesh.  The two really important abilities to understand are Asphyxiate and Stay of Execution.

    The greatest danger of Asphyxiate is panicking the party, especially the healer, into healing like crazy and losing all of their mana. It will take the party down to practically no hit points. Just be patient and wait. Once it is over, let his Stay of Execution tick once or twice before interrupting and you should be fine. If you are a healer, do not worry about topping everyone off before the next Asphyxiate. He is supposed to bring everyone in the party down to 1 Health Point. Between Asphyxiate casts the Tank (me) was kept at full Health and we just tried to keep the party at 1/2 or so; it worked great .

    Precise interruption of Stay of Execution will be key to your success as a party; this ability will heal your party and the Baron for 10% Health every 1 second.  After he strangles the party to almost no Health, he will begin this spell, which will heal him and your party. Let it tick once or twice before interrupting, so that you can take his initial hits and give the healer a chance to get back to healing you. If you interrupt it too soon, you will be too low on Health and he will kill you. Wait too long and he will heal up all of the damage you did.

    [I have posted the above information as comments in WoW Head too, for easy reference.]

    He has other bad things that do damage. Basically, beat him up, try to interrupt stuff.  If you are short on interrupts, focus more on the heals.  Make sure the entire party understands that Stay of Execution has to be interrupted only after 2 seconds or so, but Mend Rotten Flesh can and should be interrupted ASAP.

    Baron Silverlaine

    Baron Silverlaine was one of the easier bosses for us.  The new and improved Baron Silverlaine is somewhat nostalgic in that he calls up the old Worgen bosses from the old SFK.  He will do this three times, at 25% (Wolf Master Nandos and three Lupine Spectres), 50% (Razorclaw the Butcher), and 75% (Rethilgore).  Of the three, Rethilgore is the more annoying, since he shadowsteps all over the party.  We were clustered pretty tightly, so this was not much of an issue.

    This is a Tank and Spank, for the most part, combined with picking up adds when they spawn.  The first spawn will be multiple adds.  In terms of kill order, when the adds spawn, kill them, and get back to the Baron.  Your party may or may not want to just burn down the Baron when the final add, Rethilgore, spawns.

    It is important to keep an eye on quickly removing the Cursed Veil, which reduces healing by 75%.

    Commander Springvale

    This is the boss that is most likely to wipe your party out.  We had a PUG member as our fifth, and had not pulled him into Ventrilo yet.  This fight punished us for that, as miscommunication led to uncoordinated efforts that wiped us repeatedly.  Mostly, this was due to the PUG member being one strategy behind us in execution; somehow my chat messages were not conveying the current strategy well enough.  Once we got him on Ventrilo, I think we two-shotted the boss.  Do you need to be on Vent?  Probably not, if you all clearly understand your strategy.

    I have seen a video that suggests ignoring the adds and burning the boss.  If you are overgeared, this may be viable.  If not, then you will likely need to apply more finesse, as we did.

    Springvale is, essentially, supposed to be what Dungeons and Dragons would call an Anti-Paladin.  Prior to Cataclysm, he was basically a mean Paladin.  However, Cataclysm sees him remade with some Death Knight (essentially undead Anti-Paladins) abilities and some new tricks.

    Essentially, they have given him an evil version of the new Holy Power mechanic.  He gets Unholy Power from using his Malefic Strike (I guess it's an Unholy Crusader Strike), as well as casts from his minion.
    • Desecration – A regular Desecration, this creates a region around the boss that slows movement by 50%; this can be painful if cast just before Shield of the Perfidious.
    • Malefic Strike - double damage and generates Unholy Power (an evil Crusader Strike)
    • He consumes Unholy Power for the following abilities
      • Shield of the Perfidious – A frontal cone AoE that ticks very rapidly for damage (every 0.5 seconds?)
      • Word of Shame – This nasty spell takes 5% of the target's maximum Health every 3 seconds, and persists until the fight is over (or the target dies).
    We found that we could not DPS down the boss without at least another pair of adds spawning.  This lead to a lot of healing and Unholy Power flowing into the boss, which leads to empty Mana and Health bars for our party members.  The main problem is the Unholy Empowerment that the adds cast.; 4% of his Health is a lot and can undo your DPS is it is not kept under control.

    In an nutshell, our successful strategy was as follows:
    1. Crowd control the Wailing Guardsman (I prefer this because they have an AoE silence, which can prevent restoring CC or healing, so better to keep that under wraps while you burn down the other add)
    2. Tank pulls Commander and Officer to opposite side of the room (this way you are not near the CC you just set up)
    3. Kill the Officer, interrupting Unholy Empowerment every time
    4. Kill the Wailing Guardsman, interrupting Unholy Power every time
    5. DPS Commander Springvale
    6. Repeat 1-3 until Commander Springvale is dead
    7. Win
    Of course, if his Health is very low, you can probably just CC the last wave of adds and burn him down.

    Update: The conventional wisdom holds that Shield of the Perfidious will always point at the Tank, unless the Tank is standing on a bench.  We found this to be true.  And let me tell you, there are a LOT of benches in there!

    Lord Walden

    This is an evil alchemist/chemist guy.  We really did not learn much about this fight because we easily one-shotted it.  WoW Head tells us that he has Conjure Frost Mixture, Conjure Poisonous Mixture, and Ice Shards.  The advice from one of our guild members was to keep moving when he is casting/channeling Mystery Toxin.  So, we just stayed on the move and spread out during the fight, avoided stuff on the ground, and killed him.  If you have troubles Tanking while moving...get better at it. :)

    Lord Godfrey

    The new end boss is pretty easy too.  He will summon Ghouls, in a fashion similar to our old friend, the Lich King.  He will also use his ghastly guns (diabolical derringers? scary six-shooters? bigbaddablunderbusses?) to shoot your party in shadowy special ways:
    1. Mortal wound - DoT and 10% reduction in healing
    2. Cursed Bullets - Deals around 50k shadow damage and a DoT that does more damage over time for 15 sec (the DoT portion is like a Curse of Agony).  This can be removed.
    3. Pistol Barrage - fixed facing cone attack; it won't spin with you, so you can step out of it
    Tank him in place and kill him.  Pick up his fragile adds when they spawn.  The key elements are 1) removing Cursed Bullets ASAP, 2) pointing the boss away from party members so they are not hit by Pistol Barrage, and 3) stepping out of Pistol Barrage, unless you are going for the Achievement to kill his Ghouls with his Pistol Barrage.

    I don't remember if we even focused any DPS on the adds.

    Other Resources

    I was somewhat terse in some places, so here are some other resources:


    Manu said...

    Nice coverup of the tacts there. For
    Commander Springvale an easy way out is to tank him in the previous hallway - or even behind the corner that leads to it. That way both of the adds come from same doorway and can be easily dpsed down before they get into line of sight of the boss to give him that runic power. Roots/shackle on other of the mobs makes it even easier.

    Skindancer said...

    Manu, thanks for the comments. That surely is a viable option. Once we got our strategy down, we found staying in the room actually made things easier, as we knew which mobs were coming and from which direction, so we could safely CC one guy on one side and burn the other. On our second trip there we got the Achievement for not letting him get any Unholy Empowerment, so it is very feasible.

    Anonymous said...

    you can just pull commander out side and his adds will not re spawn once u kill them!

    Skindancer said...

    Yeah, I have heard this, but I was loathe to advertise it as I am concerned that it is an exploit. Dragging a boss down the hall to break a critical mechanic and make an Achievement trivial sure sounds like an exploit.

    We did it the way it appears to be intended and while it was challenging, it is quite doable if everyone does their job properly and the Achievement (interrupting every cast of Unholy Empowerment) is very attainable. Much like Karsh Steelbender, if you shoot for the Achievement, the fight is actually easier.