SoO You Think You Can Heal: General Nazgrim

On the first pull, General Nazgrim is accompanied by Orgrimmar Faithful

On the first pull, General Nazgrim is accompanied by Orgrimmar Faithful

Siege of Orgrimmar
Vale of Eternal Sorrows
The Fallen Protectors
Sha of Pride
Gates of Retribution
Iron Juggernaut
Kor’kron Dark Shaman
General Nazgrim
The Underhold
Spoils of Pandaria
Thok the Bloodthirsty
Siegecrafter Blackfuse
Paragons of the Klaxxi
Garrosh Hellscream

General Nazgrim is the eighth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar, and the final boss of the Gates of Retribution wing. Initially, he has an army of Orgrimmar Faithful accompanying him, but after the first pull, these guys disappear, leaving only Nazgrim to contend with. (Actually, I don’t know what happens if you wipe before you kill all the Orgrimmar Faithful, who are cannon fodder in every sense of the phrase except the literal one; perhaps they re-spawn!)

The General Nazgrim encounter is a control encounter. Players must moderate the amount of Rage that General Nazgrim gains over the course of the fight, to prevent his most dangerous abilities from being used. If your raid is organised and disciplined, the encounter will be very smooth and simple. If your raid tends more toward the chaotic side, General Nazgrim will be a more punishing and difficult encounter.

Throughout the fight, Nazgrim will summon Kor’kron Forces to protect him, and these, too, must be dealt with in a controlled fashion. As the encounter progresses, more adds spawn more frequently, making it difficult to maintain the required control.

This fight is high on movement requirements and avoidable damage, and like most fights with primarily avoidable mechanics, players who don’t avoid them will take spiky damage. Your raid will very likely spread out over the course of the encounter, so gear and Talent accordingly.

General Nazgrim

Most of General Nazgrim’s abilities are Rage-dependent, but he does have two abilities that he will use throughout the encounter regardless of his Rage levels.

The first is a tank-debuffing mechanic, Sundering Blow. The attack deals heavy Physical damage and leaves behind a Sundering Blow debuff which reduces the tank’s armor by 10% per stack. The attack also generates 5 Rage, plus 5 additional Rage for each stack of Sundering Blow present. This requires tanks to swap, ideally at as low stacks as possible, to prevent Nazgrim from generating too much Rage. Since Sundering Blow’s debuff lasts 30 seconds, and Nazgrim uses Sundering Blow approximately every 8 seconds, 4 stacks is the lowest number at which tanks can reliably swap (occasionally it will be possible to swap at 3, because Nazgrim will interrupt his Sundering Blow rotation to use his other abilities).

Bonecracker targets random players with a Bleed and a health-reducing effect.

Bonecracker targets random players with a Bleed and a health-reducing effect.

The second such ability is Bonecracker. Nazgrim will hurl maces at random, non-tank raid members (2 targets in 10-player difficulty, 5 targets in 25-player difficulty), causing the Bonecracker debuff to be applied to these players. This debuff reduces the player’s maximum health by 10% and leaves behind a Bleed effect that deals light Physical damage every second. In conjunction with damage from other abilities, Bonecracker can be rather dangerous, and healers should be sure to keep these players topped up (or even better, provide effective health boosters like Power Word: Shield or Illuminated Healing) in advance of incoming attacks.

holy-paladin-iconHand of Protection will not remove Bonecracker, but it will prevent its damage whilst it’s active. Hand of Purity would reduce its damage by 40%, but HoProt has other uses in this fight, so Clemency is the better Talent.

As Nazgrim gains rage, he will use his Rage-spending abilities. He prefers to use the ability with the highest Rage cost that he can afford, and after he has spent this Rage, he gains a debuff called Cooling Off, which prevents him from spending Rage for the next 15 seconds. This means your raid will deal with one of these abilities roughly every 15 seconds, and the amount of Rage he gains in that 15 seconds will determine which ability he will use.

Heroic Shockwave: 30 Rage

Heroic Shockwave

Heroic Shockwave

When Nazgrim is between 30 and 49 Rage, and is not under the affects of Cooling Off, he will use his Heroic Shockwave ability. He leaps to a random player, smashing the ground beneath him and dealing heavy Physical damage to all players within 10 yards. This is kind of unavoidable damage since he doesn’t telegraph where he is going to jump to, so players should be spread out to limit the number of targets affected. Fortunately, taking damage from Heroic Shockwave does not grant Nazgrim any Rage.

However, the force of the Shockwave is so strong that it shatters the ground, creating an Aftershock effect. Two fracture lines extend out from the Shockwave location to indicate where these Aftershocks will occur:

Aftershock warning: this area will soon erupt!

Aftershock warning: this area will soon erupt!

After three seconds, flames will erupt from the Aftershock fracture lines, dealing heavy Fire damage to any player standing on or near the fracture, and generating 5 Rage per player damaged in this manner. Nazgrim can gain a lot of Rage very quickly by players failing to move out from the Aftershock lines.

Aftershock erupts and generates 5 Rage per player damaged

Aftershock erupts and generates 5 Rage per player damaged

Heroic Shockwave will always be the very first ability that Nazgrim uses, since he begins the fight without the Cooling Off debuff, and will spend Rage as soon as he reaches enough Rage to afford an ability.

Kor'kron Banner is your top DPS priority.

Kor’kron Banner: top priority

Kor’kron Banner: 50 Rage

When Nazgrim is between 50 and 69 Rage, and is not under the affects of Cooling Off, he will use his Kor’kron Banner ability. This summons a Kor’kron Banner with a moderate amount of health ( 843k in 10-player mode; 2.5 million HP in 25-player mode). While the Kor’kron Banner exists, General Nazgrim will gain 3 Rage for each of his allies’ attacks.

Kor’kron Banner must be the top DPS priority, or else your raid risks Nazgrim gaining uncontrollable amounts of Rage. The Banner always spawns near General Nazgrim himself, so this is an excellent job to assign to melee DPS and the tanks.

War Song: 70 Rage

War Song: Dangerous during Berserker Stance and on targets with Assassin's Mark or Bonecracker

War Song: Dangerous during Berserker Stance and on targets with Assassin’s Mark or Bonecracker

When Nazgrim is between 70 and 99 Rage, and is not under the affects of Cooling Off, he will use his War Song ability. War Song deals 50% of each player’s maximum health as Physical damage. While I cannot be certain of this, it appears that this is not mitigated by Armor, since I – as a shield-wielding Resto Shaman – and a mage took near identical amounts of damage from this ability (in fact, I took more than he did).

While targets under the effects of Bonecracker have lowered maximum health, causing War Song to deal less damage to those targets, the addition of the Bleed effect puts these players in significantly more danger. Similarly, any players currently dealing with a Kor’kron Assassin (see below) are in danger of dying to the combined War Song and melee damage.

Restoration-Druid-IconSymbiosis: Deterrence will help you mitigate War Song damage, as well as Bonecracker damage, so it is my recommendation for this encounter.

discipline-priest-iconThis is an excellent ability to counter with Spirit Shell, although the timing can be difficult. If Nazgrim is approaching 70 Rage with 10 seconds to go on Cooling Off, you may as well Spirit Shell the raid 🙂

Ravager: 100 Rage

Ravager represents a serious failure to control the encounter

Ravager represents a serious failure to control the encounter

Ravager is General Nazgrim’s most dangerous – and most annoying! – ability, and is only cast when he reaches 100 Rage. Since reaching 100 Rage represents a serious failure in your raid’s ability to manage the Rage-generating aspects of the encounter, Ravager is like a “punishment”.

This ability summons a large axe which whirls around the room quickly and erratically, dealing very heavy Physical damage to any player within 5 yards of it, and generating 5 Rage each time it damages a player. The Ravagers persist until the end of the encounter, and once you have one Ravager, you are very likely to get more, since they are hard to avoid.

Finally, General Nazgrim is a Warrior, so it is only fitting that he will stance-dance during this encounter. Nazgrim has 3 stances that he cycles through in the following order. Each stance lasts a full minute.

  1. Battle Stance – Nazgrim generates 1 Rage per second.
  2. Berserker Stance – Nazgrim deals 25% additional damage, takes 25% additional damage, and gains 100% additional Rage from all Rage-generating abilities.
  3. Defensive Stance – Nazgrim takes 10% reduced damage, and will generate 3 Rage each time he is struck (though this effect has a 1-second cooldown, and tanks with the Sundering Blow debuff are exempt).

The single most common source of wiping in this fight is from players attacking Nazgrim during Defensive Stance. This will very quickly lead to uncontrollable Rage gains and a room full of Ravagers.

holy-paladin-iconHand of Protection is an excellent deterrent for boss-tunneling melee DPS during Defensive Stance. 😉

class_priest_iconLeap of Faith is an excellent deterrent for boss-tunneling melee DPS during Defensive Stance. 😉

Kor’kron Forces

On your very first pull of this encounter, General Nazgrim is surrounded by 24 Orgrimmar Faithful, who do next to nothing, and seem to exist only to give your Warriors, Warlocks, and Elemental Shamans a happy feeling. They are very easily killed.

Periodically, Nazgrim will summon groups of Kor’kron Forces to aid him in defeating your raid. The first six waves of these adds will spawn every 45 seconds and consist of two adds; subsequent waves spawn 30 seconds apart and have three adds. Additionally, when Nazgrim reaches 10% remaining health, he will summon one of each type of add in a last-ditch, Hail-Mary sort of play.

There are four types of adds that Nazgrim can summon, and their abilities and appropriate counter-measures are described below.

Kor’kron Arcweaver: The Kor’kron Arcweaver is a mage who cannot be tanked. The Arcweaver will use Unstable Blink to teleport in a random direction, and sometimes he is teleported twice. This is just moderately annoying.

Most of the time, the Arcweaver will spam Arcane Shock, a single-target spell that he targets on a random raid member. This spell deals moderate Arcane damage to its target, and each time the Arcweaver successfully casts it, he gains a stacking buff that increases all Arcane damage he deals by 25%. This means that Arcane Shock will hit significantly harder the longer the Arcweaver is alive and allowed to cast.

Magistrike's point of impact. All players in the area suffer instant damage and gain a DoT.

Magistrike’s point of impact. All players in the area suffer instant damage and gain a DoT.

Occasionally, the Arcweaver will cast Magistrike at a random target, dealing an instant burst of moderate Arcane damage to any player within 8 yards, and leaving a Magistrike debuff which deals light Arcane damage every second for 20 seconds. The Magistrike debuff can be dispelled; while it is not particularly dangerous alone, it may be dangerous in conjunction with Bonecracker and/or War Song. This is especially true if Magistrike is cast when the Arcweaver has several stacks of Arcane Shock.

class_priest_iconMass Dispel is pretty nice for dealing with this mechanic, since by design the players affected by it are in close proximity to one another.

Both Arcane Shock and Magistrike are interruptible, and keeping interrupts on the Arcweaver will significantly reduce the amount of random spike damage your raid takes.

Kor’kron Assassin: The Kor’kron Assassin enters the encounter under Stealth, and immediately chooses a target to fixate. The chosen player receives an Assassin’s Mark debuff – and the standard “fixate” eyes will appear over that player’s head. After several seconds, the Assassin will reveal himself and attempt to get behind the chosen player. If the Assassin gets behind its target, he will Backstab, dealing near-fatal Physical damage to the player.

An Assassin's Mark

An Assassin’s Mark

It is very important that players not allow the Assassin to Backstab them. The Assassins can be controlled by a variety of crowd-control methods, and can be kited. This is great for getting a little breathing room when you are targeted by them. The Assassin’s melee attacks are fairly strong, so healers should know who is targeted by the Assassin and make sure they stay topped up.

This mechanic favours ranged DPS over healers, but can choose healers if your raid is low on ranged DPS or your DPS have died. If you are chosen by Assassin’s Mark, or if you would like to help your casters who were chosen, here are some tips:

Restoration-Druid-IconTyphoon, Ursol’s Vortex, and Entangling Roots are excellent ways to deal with the Assassin. Or, hey, Nature’s Grasp! It’s a thing! Also, Symbiosis: Deterrence will prevent some of the Assassin’s damage.

mistweaver monk iconSo long as you are in melee range of something, I don’t think you will ever be targeted by the Assassin. However, you can assist others with Grapple Weapon, Leg Sweep, Paralysis, or Disable.

holy-paladin-iconYou can use Hand of Protection on the player targeted by Assassin’s Mark to help them survive the damage. (Hammer/Fist of Justice also work just fine, but should probably be saved for Ironblades.)

class_priest_iconVoid Tendrils are amazing, as usual. Leap of Faith can also assist a player having trouble avoiding their Assassin’s damage.

restoration-shaman-iconEarthgrab Totem and Capacitor Totem are great for dealing with the Kor’kron Assassins on your raid members. Consider Totemic Projection.

Ironstorm is dangerous to melee DPS

Ironstorm is dangerous to melee DPS

Kor’kron Ironblade: The Kor’kron Ironblade has one offensive ability, Ironstorm, which is exactly what it sounds like – a whirlwind. Ironstorm has a short cast time, following which the Ironblade will spin, moving around the room erratically and dealing moderate Physical damage every second to players within 6 yards. This can quickly become fatal if you are caught off-guard.

Thanks to the Ironstorm ability, it is dangerous to assign melee DPS to the task of killing the Ironblades. However, the Ironblades can be stunned, which will allow your melee brief windows to attack. While the Ironblades should be stunned regardless, it is probably safest to assign your ranged DPS to attack the Ironblades, and allow your melee to focus on something a little safer.

When the Ironblade reaches 50% health, he will use Last Stand, gaining 25% maximum health.

Kor’kron Warshaman: The Warshaman is a healer, but deals moderate melee damage and should be tanked.

Healing Tide Totem restores 30% health to any enemies in its 8-yard radius

Healing Tide Totem restores 30% health to any enemies in its 8-yard radius (watery circle)

Kor’kron Warshaman has three healing abilities. The most powerful of these abilities is Healing Tide Totem, which will tick every 4 seconds and heal nearby enemy units (e.g. Nazgrim and the adds) for 30% of their health with each pulse. The Healing Tide Totem must be killed, and any enemies that are near the totem – particularly Nazgrim – must be dragged away quickly to prevent this heal from getting off. The Healing Tide Totem has 394k health in 10-player difficulty, and approximately 1.2 million health in 25-player difficulty.

The Kor’kron Warshaman will also periodically cast Empowered Chain Heal on its allies. This spell will restore 10% of its target’s health and jump to up to four other nearby allies, and each jump increases its healing done by 50%. This spell must be interrupted.

Finally, the Warshaman will occasionally – if allowed to live long enough – cast Earth Shield upon its most injured ally. When the Earth Shielded enemy takes any damage, Earth Shield will restore 5% of its health. This can – and should – be dispelled immediately.

Strategy Summary

Avoiding Rage gains is the single most important aspect of this encounter. Players must dodge all the avoidable damage, switch to Kor’kron Banners as soon as they spawn, and ensure that they do not attack Nazgrim whilst he is in Defensive Stance. (It is unclear whether pets contribute to Nazgrim’s Rage generation during Defensive Stance.)

Bloodlust or Heroism should be used during Nazgrim’s first Berserker Stance. This occurs one minute into the fight, while players will be finishing off the first wave of Kor’kron Forces, and will allow players to focus on damaging Nazgrim for up to 30 seconds before the next wave of Forces spawn.

Players could even CC this second set of Kor’kron Forces to allow them more time to damage the boss during his damage vulnerability, since after Berserker Stance fades, Nazgrim will enter Defensive Stance and will be unattackable. This is a bit risky since one of the adds is a Warshaman, but so long as Nazgrim is kept more than 8 yards away from Healing Tide Totem and Chain Heals are interrupted or the Warshaman is kept CCed, this can be very beneficial. (Resto Shaman, Holy Paladins, and Mistweaver Monks can even interrupt the Warshaman to allow your DPS more time to focus on boss damage.)

While it is equally valid to use Bloodlust/Heroism during the second Berserker Stance, 4 minutes into the fight, it is possible by that time that you will have players dead, or are starting to be overrun by adds, or may be in danger of pushing Nazgrim to 10% during its uptime, spawning four adds at once and increasing the likelihood that a Warshaman will get off a heal.

Players must never attack Nazgrim during Defensive Stance. I say this a lot because it is really, really important. It is very difficult for DPS to not attack a boss, especially if there are no other enemies around to attack at the time, which is why I recommend CCing the 2nd wave of Kor’kron Forces for 30 seconds until Defensive Stance begins. This gives your DPS something to do while the boss is unattackable, and makes the encounter a little more fun for the vast majority of your raid. It’s a tricky proposition, but it pays off when it works! 🙂

The number of add waves your group will have to deal with depends upon how long you take to defeat General Nazgrim. I’ve seen up to 9 waves of adds on this encounter, so here is the composition of the first 9 waves, with the highest-priority add’s name in bold:

  1. Kor’kron Arcweaver, Kor’kron Ironblade
  2. Kor’kron Assassin, Kor’kron Warshaman
  3. Kor’kron Assassin, Kor’kron Ironblade
  4. Kor’kron Arcweaver, Kor’kron Warshaman
  5. Kor’kron Ironblade, Kor’kron Warshaman
  6. Kor’kron Arcweaver, Kor’kron Assassin
  7. Kor’kron Arcweaver, Kor’kron Assassin, Kor’kron Warshaman
  8. Kor’kron Assassin, Kor’kron Ironblade, Kor’kron Warshaman
  9. Kor’kron Arcweaver, Kor’kron Ironblade, Kor’kron Warshaman

Be sure to stun/CC/root the Ironblade as much as possible, interrupt the Warshaman’s casts, and switch to Healing Tide Totems ASAP. The only thing that can override these priority lists is the presence of a Kor’kron Banner, but you can easily split your raid and have melee in charge of the Banner while ranged deal with Healing Tide Totem.

Be careful not to push Nazgrim below 10% if he just summoned a set of Kor’kron Forces. This will rapidly overwhelm your raid, especially since it is likely that you will have two Warshamans active. Similarly, be sure not to push Nazgrim right before he is going to summon a set of Kor’kron Forces. It is safe to push Nazgrim to 10% so long as Warshamans are dead.

You should definitely deal with the adds that spawned at 10%, since there are four and one of them is a Warshaman. However, you may wish to ignore/CC the next wave of Kor’kron Forces and focus all your damage on the boss. Choosing to do so depends heavily on your raid’s ability to easily CC the adds – particularly Warshamans – and whether the boss is in Defensive Stance. It is still quite possible to wipe to rapid Rage generation this late in the fight, so choose your strategy wisely!

The healing in this fight is not very predictable since so much of the damage is avoidable, and your raid’s damage profile depends heavily on how good the players are at avoiding said avoidable damage.

You will need cooldowns for: Tanks at 3 stacks of Sundering Blow during Berserker Phase; War Song, especially during Berserker Phase; the final portion of the encounter where adds are ignored in favour of burning down the boss.

Dispels: Magistrike on friendly players; Priests and Shaman should also dispel the Warshaman’s Earth Shield from its target.

Debuffs to track: Assassin’s Mark, Bonecrusher, Magistrike

Points of failure:

Nearly all the points of failure in this fight are the result of allowing Nazgrim to gain too much rage. Ravagers, his 100-Rage ability, are ridiculously difficult to deal with (especially on 25-player difficulties), and should be avoided. (It is certainly possible to kill Nazgrim after he’s summoned Ravagers, it just makes everything much harder, and getting one Ravager kind of snowballs into getting more and more Ravagers.) Some of the common problems that lead to too much Rage are:

  • Tanks not executing the tank-swap properly, allowing Nazgrim to gain ridiculous amounts of Rage from Sundering Blow;
  • Players allowing a Kor’kron Banner to stand while being attacked by adds, especially during Defensive Stance;
  • Players standing in the boss’s Aftershock or Ravager abilities;
  • Players attacking Nazgrim during Defensive Stance.

The other main point of failure is in becoming overrun with the adds in the encounter. This can happen if:

  • Players do not kill the Healing Tide Totem, or drag the adds away from an existing Healing Tide Totem, allowing the adds to heal significantly;
  • Players do not interrupt the Kor’kron Warshaman’s Empowered Chain Heal or dispel his Earth Shield, allowing adds to heal significantly;
  • Players do not focus hard enough on killing adds during the Battle Stance, allowing too many adds to pile up while they are focusing the boss during Berserker Stance;
  • The raid pushes Nazgrim to 10% at an inconvenient time, causing him to spawn 4 adds either right after a set of adds has already spawned, or just before a set of adds is about to spawn.

Finally, there’s a few ways for players to die:

  • Tanks take too many stacks of Sundering Blow and cannot survive the boss’s melee damage or subsequent Sundering Blows;
  • Players standing in Ravagers;
  • Players standing in Aftershock;
  • Players standing in Magistrike;
  • Players standing in a Kor’kron Ironblade’s Ironstorm;
  • Players turning their back to a Kor’kron Assassin whilst being fixated by him.

Good luck! 🙂


About Dedralie

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14 Responses to SoO You Think You Can Heal: General Nazgrim

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