|Siege of Orgrimmar|
|Vale of Eternal Sorrows|
|The Fallen Protectors|
|Sha of Pride|
|Gates of Retribution|
|Kor’kron Dark Shaman|
|Spoils of Pandaria|
|Thok the Bloodthirsty|
|Paragons of the Klaxxi|
Galakras is the fifth fight of the Siege of Orgrimmar encounter and the first fight of the Gates of Retribution wing, which opened this week on Flexible mode. In this encounter, players begin by securing a landing zone for their faction leaders’ naval force just off the coast of Orgrimmar (also known as “clearing trash”). The raid must then withstand an onslaught of defending forces, while seizing the two towers overlooking the narrow valley that defines the encounter area.
Galakras is a huge drake, ridden by some chick named Warlord Zaela (whom you do not get to fight in the encounter). Once players have seized both towers, they can shoot Zaela off of Galakras’s back using the cannons at the top of each tower, forcing Galakras to land and engage the raid. This marks the final phase of the fight. (I guess Zaela plummets to a gruesome death?)
Essentially, the Galakras encounter has two phases – an extended adds-management phase, followed by a very simple boss phase reminiscent of Heroic Beth’tilac in design. The complexity in this encounter comes with learning and responding to the many types of adds, handling the tower-siege mechanic, and in protecting your faction leaders from death. (If any of your faction leaders die, you fail the encounter and must start over.)
All Your Base Are Belong To Adds
I suppose we can’t have a raid without at least one over-the-top adds encounter. (Well, strictly speaking, this raid has two, but we’ll get to that all in due time.)
The first 50-60% of this encounter involves protecting your faction leaders from an onslaught of Orgrimmar defenders. For Alliance players, you’ll be protecting Lady Jaina Proudmoore, Vereesa Windrunner, and King Varian Wrynn; for Horde players, you’ll be protecting Archmage Aethas Sunreaver, Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, and Lor’themar Theron. The faction leaders have between 60 and 85 million health, and are surrounded by less important friendly NPCs, near the pier. The three important NPCs – those whose death marks your failure at the encounter – also appear as boss frames in your UI.
The faction leaders do try to help with the encounter – the mage (Jaina/Aethas) will drop Blizzard in an inconvenient location; the hunter (Vereesa/Sylvanas) will pew pew with arrows; and the meatshield (Varian/Lor’themar) will occasionally taunt untanked adds while meleeing them. Ideally your raid will tank the adds inside the mage’s Blizzard, since while it is not amazing damage, it is still free damage, and the more the better.
Okay, so bear with me here. There are a bunch of adds in this encounter, and some of them do things you will care about. Here’s the rundown:
Dragonmaw Bonecrusher: These are the most formidable adds in the encounter, since they have the only ability which actually damages the faction leader NPCs.
Bonecrushers will use their Fracture ability on a random faction leader, charging to them, stunning them, and then inflicting 10% of the faction leader’s health every second. Since the faction leaders have so much health, this can be very difficult to recover from if it is not handled well. Fracture may be interrupted by stunning the Bonecrusher during its channel or by forcing the Bonecrusher to move, either through knockback effects or Death Grip-like effects. Healers should also heal the faction leader targeted by Fracture, to ensure that the NPCs are in no danger of dying to subsequent Bonecrushers.
Hammer/Fist of Justice will interrupt Fracture. You cannot use Lay on Hands on the faction leaders, but you can use Hand of Protection on the faction leader and they will take no damage, so talent Clemency.
Capacitor Totem is great for Fracture since it can get multiple Bonecrushers with a single cast – and when there are multiple Bonecrushers, their casts sync up. Consider glyphing it or using Totemic Projection to position it well.
Bonecrushers have another ability, Shattering Roar, which deals moderate to heavy Physical damage to all nearby raid members (it won’t hit players inside the towers, but reaches any player in the main encounter area). This is not terribly dangerous unless multiple Bonecrushers chain Roars, or unless there is a Flagbearer’s banner present.
Dragonmaw Flagbearer: A standard melee mob, who summons a Dragonmaw War Banner with 1 HP. The banner grants all your enemies with 50% increased melee and ranged attack speed and spell casting speed, as well as 50% increased damage dealt. This can be very dangerous if ignored (and I suspect it is immune to AoE effects), since it can contribute to unhealable damage especially in conjunction with multiple Bonecrushers. However, it’s extremely easy to kill – a single player can swap and annihilate it with any instant attack.
Dragonmaw Grunt: A standard melee mob, who randomly throws axes at ranged players. You do not care about him.
Dragonmaw Flameslinger: These archers stand back from the rest of the adds and shoot Flame Arrows at random raid members. The Flame Arrows deal light Fire damage upon impact, and leave a patch of flames on the ground at the target’s feet. Standing in these flames deals light Fire damage every second.
Dragonmaw Proto-Drake: The Proto-Drakes are flying around overhead at the start of the encounter and occasionally will land in pairs. They will attack with two abilities. Of most importance to healers is their Drakefire ability, used while the Proto-Drakes are flying, which targets random players and fires bolts of … well … fire, dealing moderate Fire damage to all players within 5 yards of the impact point. Each successful Drakefire cast increases the Proto-Drake’s Fire damage by 10%. The counter to this is for the Tower Squad (see below) to kill the Proto-Drakes in the sky with the Anti-Air turrets at the top of each tower. Drakefire is not listed in the Dungeon Journal.
The Proto-Drakes who have landed will attack the tanks with Flame Breath, which is a frontal cone effect. Tanks should be sure to face the Proto-Drakes away from the raid. They don’t really do much else once they’ve landed.
Dragonmaw Tidal Shaman: The Tidal Shaman has a single damaging attack, Tidal Waves, which deals moderate Nature damage to any player caught in its path. It’s a lot like Lu’lin’s Tidal Force during Dusk phase in the Twin Consorts encounter, except that instead of doing one in every direction, the Shaman just does one Wave at a time. This can be interrupted, but there’s no real reason to – the cast time is long enough that melee can easily avoid being caught by it, and its damage is insignificant enough that clipping a few players won’t matter too much.
Their more dangerous abilities are healing abilities, though. The Tidal Shaman will periodically cast Chain Heal on their allies – which can, and should, be interrupted – and will drop Healing Tide Totems. Healing Tide Totems have very low health, and heal all nearby enemies for 10% of their health every 3 seconds, so should be killed very quickly.
Kor’kron Demolisher: When the friendly NPCs have breeched a tower’s defenses – in other words, the meter measuring South or North Tower Progress at the top of your screen reaches 100% – Warlord Zaela will send a Demolisher to attack the tower, apparently believing it is better to sacrifice the troops inside the tower and the tower itself than to give players access to the artillery at the top of the tower. The Demolishers do one thing only – Bombard the tower, which deals moderate Physical damage to all players inside or on top of the tower and stuns them briefly. The Demolishers should be killed very quickly, ideally before your Tower Squad reaches the top of the towers, since it is very difficult for the Tower Squad to do its job whilst being repeatedly stunned.
There are also two mini-bosses that will form part of the defensive forces you must face. These bosses have special abilities and may be accompanied by previously-described adds.
Korgra the Snake: This mini-boss poisons the tank with Poison-Tipped Blades, which does very light, periodic Nature damage and really isn’t that concerning.
She will periodically drop a Poison Cloud at her feet, requiring the tank and melee players to move out of the Cloud, since they suffer light Nature damage every second they are standing within it.
Once Korgra reaches 40% health, she transforms into a snake and will spend the remainder of her life casting Poison Bolt Volley. This deals moderate raid damage with each cast.
Korgra is accompanied by two Dragonmaw Ebon Stalkers, who will periodically target a random nearby raid member, stealthily teleport to their butt, and then begin to channel Shadow Assault, which deals heavy Physical damage to any player standing in front of the Stalker. This can be easily mitigated by simply stepping away from the Ebon Stalker, but players who do not do so may require an external cooldown, like Hand of Protection or Pain Suppression, to prevent them from dying.
High Enforcer Thranok: This mini-boss has a cleave attack, Shattering Strike, which deals heavy Physical damage to the tank and any players standing in front of/near the boss. Tanks must face Thranok away from the melee in order to prevent the melee from being obliterated by this attack.
Thranok will also use an ability called Crusher’s Call, which selects several random raid members within 45 yards (5 on 10-player mode, 10 on 25-player mode), hooks those players with chains, and pulls them in to the boss’s location. Shortly thereafter he begins to channel a new ability, Skull Cracker, which will deal a fatal (or nigh-fatal) amount of Physical damage to any player remaining within 10 yards of Thranok when the cast finishes. Melee and players hooked in by Crusher’s Call must run out of the 10-yard radius of this effect in order to survive.
The number of waves of adds you must face is dependent upon how long your Tower Squad takes to complete their tasks and bring Galakras down to the ground to initiate Phase 2. I’ve seen up to 9 waves in my attempts on this fight, so I’ll list the first 9 waves here.
- 2 Dragonmaw Bonecrushers, 1 Dragonmaw Flagbearer, 2 Dragonmaw Grunts
- 2 Dragonmaw Flagbearers, 1 Dragonmaw Flamesinger, 3 Dragonmaw Grunts, 1 Dragonmaw Tidal Shaman
- Korgra the Snake, 2 Dragonmaw Ebon Stalkers
- 2 Dragonmaw Proto-Drakes
- High Enforcer Thranok, 1 Dragonmaw Flagbearer, 1 Dragonmaw Grunt, 1 Dragonmaw Tidal Shaman
- 1 Dragonmaw Bonecrusher, 1 Dragonmaw Flagbearer, 1 Dragonmaw Grunt
- 1 Dragonmaw Flagbearer, 2 Dragonmaw Flamesingers, 1 Dragonmaw Grunt, 1 Dragonmaw Tidal Shaman
- 1 Dragonmaw Bonecrusher, 1 Dragonmaw Flagbearer, 1 Dragonmaw Grunt, 1 Dragonmaw Tidal Shaman
- 2 Dragonmaw Proto-Drakes
Note that Kor’kron Demolishers will spawn whenever a Tower reaches full progress (100% on the Tower Progress monitor at the top of your screen), which typically happens between waves 4 and 5, and waves 7 and 8.
Let’s move on to your Tower Squad’s job…
While you are protecting the faction leaders and dealing with the waves of Dragonmaw defenders, a few sneaky, friendly NPCs are attempting to breach the doors of the towers flanking the encounter area. You can monitor this progress by the “[North/South] Tower Progress” meter at the top of your screen. When tower progress reaches 100%, the tower’s defenses have been breached, and players may enter.
Our motivation for doing this is at the top of each tower – the Anti-Air turrets, which we must control in order to reduce the number of Proto-Drakes flying around and annoying the raid, and to bring an end to Phase 1 by knocking Galakras out of the sky so we can defeat him.
At the beginning of the fight, your raid should choose a Tower Squad, which should consist of one tank, one healer, and as many DPS as you can spare without falling behind on adds. (In 10-player mode, this may be 2; in 25-player mode, this could be 3-5. The faster the better, because we really hate adds, and would like to fight the boss now please.)
The South tower – to the left of the encounter area – is the first tower to be breached, and as soon as it is breached, Warlord Zaela sends one of those Kor’kron Demolishers in to attack it. There are two ways the Tower Squad can handle this:
- Wait for the Demolisher to be destroyed before any players enter the tower
- Send the tank and healer in together, to reach the top of the tower and click on a coiled rope, while the DPS assigned to Tower Squad duty help burn down the Demolisher then click on this rope to be transported to the top of the tower.
The second strategy is faster, but riskier, as your tank and healer could get stunned too frequently by the Demolisher’s attacks. Choose whichever strategy your raid can handle.
Inside the tower, there are two Dragonmaw Flameslingers and one Dragonmaw Grunt. The best course of action is for the players entering the tower to simply run past these enemies to the top of the tower, where a mini-boss awaits, along with three additional Dragonmaw Flameslingers. The mini-boss is the only dangerous enemy in the tower, and should be the main focus of the DPS, with cleaves/multi-dotting damage for the Flameslingers and Grunt until the mini-boss is dead.
South Tower – Lieutenant General Krugruk: This mini-boss has two abilities. One is a Thunder Clap, which has a short radius of effect and stacks a movement speed decreasing debuff on affected players. This can be dispelled.
The other ability Krugruk will use is Arcing Smash. He will face a random direction and lash out with a narrow cone attack. Any player standing in the indicated area when the Arcing Smash cast bar finishes will be launched off the tower and plummet to their near death, and may get stuck in terrain when they land and be unable to get back up to the tower. This is particularly problematic if it is the tank or the healer, so these players must be careful to avoid the Arcing Smash!
North Tower – Master Cannoneer Dagryn: Dagryn has two abilities. He will Shoot at random players, inflicting moderate Physical damage that cannot be avoided and simply must be healed through.
He will also use Muzzle Flash. Dagryn will face a random direction and lash out with a narrow cone attack. Any player standing in the indicated area when the Muzzle Flash cast bar finishes will take moderate Physical damage and be knocked off the platform, etc.
When players enter either Tower they will see a progress bar at the bottom of their screen that tracks the level of Dragonmaw influence over the tower. When this is reduced to zero – by killing all of the adds inside or on top of the tower – the Anti-Air turret at the top of the tower becomes usable. A player may control the turret and use it to shoot down the Dragonmaw Proto-Drakes that are flying overhead, lowering raid damage by removing sources of Drakefire. One player can stay behind and do this task while the rest of the Tower Squad moves on to the next Tower, although once all of the Drakes have been shot down, this player can rejoin the raid (if extra DPS is needed) or stay up in the Anti-Air turret (if the second Tower is about to fall into player control).
Once both Towers are controlled by players, both Anti-Air turrets should be used simultaneously to shoot Galakras out of the sky. Once this task is done, the players controlling the turrets should rejoin the raid. If there are high-health adds still alive, they should be brought to low health (and any Dragonmaw Tidal Shamans killed quickly) before shooting Galakras down and initiating Phase 2.
Galakras, or Blood Prince Beth’Galak
Once Galakras lands, the fight becomes far, far less complicated. Galakras has only two abilities, and they are fairly straightforward.
Approximately every second, Galakras will erupt with Pulsing Flames, dealing light Fire damage to the entire raid. Each time Galakras uses Pulsing Flames, he gains a stacking buff of Pulsing Flames, increasing all subsequent Fire damage by 3% per stack. This is a soft enrage mechanic, as players will find that if they take too long to destroy Galakras, the raid damage will become unhealable. This ability is very similar to Beth’tilac’s Ember Flare/Frenzy mechanic, and can be handled in much the same way; Bloodlust/Heroism as stacks are high and boss health is low, and chaining mitigation and throughput CDs.
Every six to eight seconds, Galakras will choose a random player and target them with the Flames of Galakrond. This puts a “Flames of Galakrond” targeting debuff on that player, that lasts for five seconds. When the debuff wears off, the player’s current location will be targeted by a slow-moving fireball. When the fireball reaches that location, it will explode, dealing heavy Fire damage to the entire raid.
However, each player that the fireball passes over will leech a little power out of the fireball, causing the eventual explosion to deal much lower damage. This leaves a light to moderate Fire DoT effect on each player the fireball passes over, which can stack; this effect is also called Flames of Galakrond. I’ll note that this debuff gets applied to the tank who is tanking Galakras, since the fireball initiall spawns right in front of Galakras’s face, so it is wise for the off-tank to stay to one side of the boss, away from the area the fireball will be kited, and for tanks to swap duties when the current tank’s Flames of Galakrond DoT begins dealing dangerous damage.
There is some confusion amongst the guide-writing community over whether the power-leeching effect works better if your raid is standing in a single-file line that the fireball passes over, or if it being stacked up tightly is equally as effective. This is incredibly difficult to test by looking at logs, but I have found no clear-cut evidence that lining up is superior to stacking. (I have seen several players all affected by Flames of Galakrond DoT at the same exact timestamp, indicating they were tightly stacked and were still able to leech power. However, I can’t guarantee that those players were the only players in that stack — see the Comments section below.)
Your raid can thus choose between everyone stacking in melee or the ranged/healers standing in a single-file line. I’ll note that, in my Resto Shamany opinion, stacking is better, as it will enable the use of ground-based AoE healing and limited-range damage reduction cooldowns like Power Word: Barrier, Anti-Magic Zone, and Spirit Link Totem.
I like Ancestral Guidance for this fight, particularly for healing through the heavy raid damage at the end of phase 2, but also for double Shattering Roars or for healing your faction leaders in phase 1.
In either case, the player targeted by the Flames of Galakrond target buff – Spell ID 147068 - must run to the back of the group immediately so that the fireball will pass over as many other players as possible before reaching the target location and exploding. The targeted player only has five seconds to react to being targeted and position the fireball’s impact point.
You will need cooldowns for: Players standing in Shadow Assault (tank CD); tanks stunned in the towers (tank CD); Shattering Roar during Dragonmaw War Banner or when several Bonecrushers are alive (raid CD); the final 30-50% or so of Phase 2 (raid CDs).
Debuffs to track: Flames of Galakrond – the spell that indicates the target of this ability has a spell ID of 147068, while the DoT effect has a spell ID of 147029, so if you want to track both the targeted player and the DoT effect on the raid, you’ll need to know which one is which.
Dispels: None, really. The Bombard stun from the Demolishers hitting the towers is dispellable, but if you’re in range of someone to dispel it, that very likely means you’ve been stunned, too.
Points of failure:
- Allowing any faction leader to die, via repeated, uninterrupted Fractures;
- Not killing the Tidal Shamans’ Healing Tide Totems, or allowing too many of their Chain Heals to get through, causing the raid to become overrun with adds;
- Not killing the Dragonmaw War Banners quickly enough, causing extremely high tank damage, especially while the second tank is in a tower;
- Losing a tower team due to Demolisher stuns, players getting knocked off the tower, or standing in Flame Arrows;
- Bringing down Galakras when you still have several adds alive – especially if those adds are Tidal Shamans (who heal) or Flagbearers – causing your raid to become overwhelmed;
- Inappropriately handling the Flames of Galakrond, causing large raid-wide AoE damage that will eventually become unhealable; or
- Allowing Galakras to accumulate too many stacks of Pulsing Flames – by killing him too slowly – leading to unhealable raid damage.
Good luck, everyone! I hope to have the rest of the raid’s guides available by the end of the week, if all goes well