Blackrock Caverns

Intro

Blackrock caverns was infamous on release for being ‘overtuned’. I remember an ex-guildie ranting for about 15 minutes about how hard the second boss was. He was firmly rebutted by some experienced guild members saying “it’s all about the execution, not the gear”. I can confirm that the experienced guildies were correct – none of it is about gear or dps – it’s all about having a strat and executing it well. If your group knows what they are doing, you’ll have no problems healing this instance regardless of your gear level.

Raz. Smash.

Trash

Most of the trash is fairly simple, but there are two creatures that you will need to be especially alert for:

Twilight Zealots: drakonids with two powerful attacks, Gravity strike, an instant attack which does damage equal to 60% of the target’s current health, and Shadow strike that does 70K damage and can be interrupted. I’ve never been on a run where the Shadow strike has been interrupted, so it is possible to heal through all of that, but if you’re having difficulties, ask your interrupters for a hand. In any case, be ready for big heals when your tank dips low – the Gravity strike won’t kill them, but if they are low before a Shadow strike gooes out they’ll probably die.

Quicksilver: the fire elementals (Slaves) in Karsh’s room have little molten oozes that melt and then set again depending how close the elementals are. When you pull an elemental, you will get a couple of quicksilver oozes as well, and you can either:

  • have your tank keep them with the elemental, and heal through the damage (which will ramp up as the quicksilver applies a stacking flame buffet) OR
  • you can kite the elemental away from the quicksilver until they set OR
  • you can kite the quicksilver away from the elemental until they set (that sometimes happens with heal agro in any case)

The only other major trash inconvenience is that some of the later pulls have elementals (Earth ragers) that cast a meteor, so it’s best to stack either as a whole party or into a ranged camp and melee camp to share the damage. There’s the usual stuff on the ground to avoid, but I’m assuming your group knows to not stand in Bad Things(tm). [Edit: except it seems that usually people don't know that the white patches that the later trash throw down are bad. If you have a melee heavy group you may just want to warn them 'white patches are bad' so that they know. As Shigeko is fond of saying 'not all fire is red.']

Bosses

Rom’ogg Bonecrusher

A patrolling boss that calls for help when engaged, so he can be tricky to pull. You should clear a pack or two before pulling him, or pull him right back as the group needs room to run away and there are a couple of stray patrollers from nearby groups that wander close.

He hits fairly hard and has a mortal strike ability, so try to keep your tank topped up between MSs. When his earth elementals erupt out of the ground, they do a small amount of damage to the party, so I tend to throw out a Wild growth then, as well as a RJ on anyone who needs it. And of course when you’re released from your chains ruuuuuuunnnnn.

Rinse and repeat until your Ogre is dead.

Corla, Herald of Twilight

Executed well this fight requires very little healing. Even with a moderately undergeared tank you can pretty much spend the whole fight rolling LB and RJ and refreshing with Nourish, and doing little else. With this in mind, I always offer to tank a beam.

Corla is all about positioing and interrupts

We usually have two ranged plus me on a beam, but any melee or the tank can take a beam if the boss is positioned near one of the cultists. If I’m there in a pug, I usually nominate myself a beam straight up if noone else does, I like the ‘left’ beam as there’s a fair amount of space there so I can do my thing without being distracted.

On the pull, I run into my beam and hot up the tank. My heal strategy is to keep rolling 3xLB and RJ on the tank and just nourish away mechanically, while really just concentrating on my stack size. As soon as I get to the high sixties, I strafe off the beam – it’s usually in the mid seventies by the time the beam drops. Then I keep healing away, ramping up a bit if I’ve fallen behind a little while moving, all the time really just watching for my stack to drop. As soon as it falls away I strafe back into my beam. If everything goes well, it’s rinse and repeat.

Karsh Steelbender

Karsh took us a while to get down at first.We over-complicated what turns out to be pretty simple if everything is handled well.

The key to this is the tank, so if your tank hasn’t done this before, it make take a few attempts to get right, so be patient.

Basically your tank will be kiting Karsh through the central fire pillar to melt him, making him damage-able. Whenever Karsh stands in the fire he will pulse a room wide aoe, so be ready to throw out wild growth during this. If he stands in the fire a bit too long, you’ll need to start RJing as well, and maybe even shifting into tree form to heal through it, and tranq if it’s looking like a wipe. Ideally though, this will just be one or two pulses, so you can just WG and go back to concentrating on the tank.

After each kite through the fire, you should a nice break of 6-8 seconds or so where it’s just tank damage. Then the tank needs to refresh the stack, so back through the fire Karsh will go. As the stack builds up, Karsh will be taking more damage, but also dealing more damage on the tank, so be aware your tank will need more healing as the fight progresses.

Karsh: that raid member who always stands in the fire

If executed perfectly, Karsh’s stack never falls off. If the stack does drop, don’t panic. Adds will come, dps need to burn them down, then go back to Karsh. The adds leave molten puddles that everyone will need to stay out of, including Karsh. These puddles act just like the central pillar for Karsh – if he stands in them he’ll pulse aoe and build his stack. Getting a wave or two of adds won’t be a wipe if everyone stays calm and burns down the adds and stays out of the fire.

Beauty

Beauty is an optional boss just before Obsidius. She has three adds, which unlike normal difficulty can’t be pulled separately (I think this is being nerfed to two adds in 4.0.6). These little doggies can be CCed including sheeped, sapped, hibernated or rooted. I usualy at least sleep one, sometimes I entangle one as well depending on the party make up. I just set one as my focus so I can keep an eye on it while healing.

Sit Ubu, sit. Good dog.

She fears, so keep hots rolling on the tank all the time. Tremor totem is great here if you have a shaman. Basically stay out of any fire on the ground, keep your tank hotted, CC a little doggy or two and burn down the other, then Beauty. I often need to pop tree form late in the encounter, as there’s a fair amount of craziness going on during fears.

Ascendant Lord Obsidius

Ah, Obsidius. I needed to tweak my ui especially for this encounter, specifically I set up a custom debuff icon in Grid for his twilight corruption.

Clearing to Obsidius

I have always run this encounter with Shigeko (shadow priest) kiting the adds, so I’ll just talk through how we do that. Your milage may vary with other class combinations, but the principles will be similar.

On the pull, we have our kiter dot up the cultists, while the tank picks up Obsidius and tanks him in the centre of his space. Our kiter then runs around the rim of his area with the cultists following. They have a mechanic that maintains agro on the last person to damage them, so the rest of the party needs to avoid using wide radius AOE, or stray tabbing to the adds. Also the tank should avoid the temptation to taunt/pull them if there is an issue – they put up a healing reduction debuff when they are close, and you don’t want that on your tank.

Your kiter needs to have anything Obsidius casts dispelled, whether it’s thunderclap (slowing is bad) or twillight corruption (dots are bad as your kiter may be debuffed with reduced healing). The rest of the party should be fine with a thunderclap on them, but you should dispel the twilight corruption if you can. Otherwise you can just heal through this.

At 66% and 33% health, Obsidius will swap places with one of his kited adds. you tank and kiter need to quickly pick up their respective targets and reposition, then it’s rinse and repeat.If this is executed perfetly, you should end up with the achievement. Hurrah!

That’s it for Blackrock caverns. Beauty is probably the only fight that’s a bit crazy, all the rest are fairly controlled. Lots of opportunity for you to play a key role in encounters, including CC and beam tanking – so have fun!

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