|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|
Garrosh Hellscream, Warchief of the Horde, is the final encounter in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid. Players engage with Garrosh after a terse confrontation between the Warchief and Thrall.
This final encounter takes place in the Inner Sanctum deep within Orgrimmar, in a chamber which holds the heart of the Old God Y’Shaarj. Garrosh has stolen it and will draw power from it, growing stronger and gaining new abilities as the fight progresses. The fight has an epic feel and is slightly reminiscent of the Lich King and Yogg-Saron encounters, in that players will be transported to other realms during the encounter where they must play a mini-game to prevent Garrosh from gaining too much power too quickly.
There are three phases to the fight, along with intermissions in the previously-mentioned other realms. The first phase is adds-heavy, as Garrosh’s loyal Orc contingent rises to defend him, but has minimal raid damage. The second and third phases are heavier on raid damage and introduce new mechanics your raid must react to. Players may be mind-controlled during the encounter, so be sure that your unit frames can display this information somehow so you don’t waste your time trying to heal your enemies 😉
While there are periods of spread damage, particularly during the latter stages of Phase 2 and Phase 3, a good, controlled strategy will allow players to stack most of the time. You should Talent and gear accordingly. Much of the damage in this fight is predictable and avoidable, so it becomes much easier to heal as your raid gains experience with each of the Phases.
In the first phase of this encounter, players face Garrosh and some of his most strident defenders. Garrosh has not yet consumed the Blood of Y’Shaarj so his own strength and power is limited at this point, and the fight is mostly about managing the adds rather than anything Garrosh does.
Garrosh will throw a Desecrated Weapon at a ranged raid member near the start of the fight and about once every 35 seconds thereafter. The Desecrate Weapon creates a large “void zone” around the impact point that deals moderate to heavy Shadow damage to players who stand within the affected area. The area of the void zone is diminished as the Desecrated Weapon’s health decreases, and disappears entirely when the Weapon is destroyed. Since the affected area is very large, players who don’t move quickly will take a lot of damage and may need additional healing.
Shortly after engaging Garrosh, he will summon six Kor’kron Warbringers to aid him. These adds do only one special thing – Hamstring the player they are targeting, which you’d hope would be your tank – and they melee for a moderate amount of damage. Healers should keep an eye on the tanks, who will be taking the most damage during this phase – although it’s also possible that the Warbringers will initially target a DPS or healer, since they come from both sides of the room and are likely to notice these players before the tanks have a chance to get to them.
Next on the list of adds that Garrosh will summon during this Phase are the Siege Engineers. Two Engineers appear atop the walls on the east and west sides of the room, and begin to channel a 15-second cast of Power Iron Star. The Engineers have low health and can easily be killed by a single DPS player each, which will prevent Power Iron Star from being cast, thereby preventing the spawning of an Iron Star from that Engineer’s wing of the room.
If the Engineers are allowed to complete their cast, they will release a powerful Iron Star from their side of the encounter area, which will roll across the room dealing extremely heavy damage to any players it comes into contact with. Players without an immunity or a very strong cooldown will die to this damage – the Iron Star Impact deals around one million damage. The west-side Engineer controls the Iron Star that will sweep across the throne side of the room, and the east-side Engineer controls the Iron Star that will sweep across the side of the room closest to Thrall.
Iron Star Impact can also be used against the adds; it will deal anywhere from 7.5-8.5 million damage to any Kor’kron Warbringers and Farseer Wolf Riders in its path. While it is not necessary to do so to complete the encounter, your raid can take advantage of this to finish off low-health adds and allow DPS to focus more on Garrosh to shorten the phase. This can be achieved by killing only one Siege Engineer, and then using roots, stuns, and knockbacks to position the adds in the Iron Star’s path. The trade-off is that you run the risk of players dying to the Iron Star Impact if the plan is not clear or if they cannot get out of the Iron Star’s path after positioning the adds properly.
Capacitor Totem is tricky to use here, but Earthbind Totem isn’t bad. If you find you need to help with this job – or need more stuns for Touch of Y’Shaarj in Phase 2 – Totemic Projection may be of some assistance.
When an Iron Star reaches the opposite wall, it explodes, dealing extremely heavy Fire damage to the entire raid. This damage is lessened the further away from the impact point you are, so the raid should – if Iron Stars are being used – try to stay near the middle of the encounter area to avoid unnecessary Exploding Iron Star damage. You may also wish to use raid cooldowns here.
After summoning the Siege Engineers, Garrosh will next cast Hellscream’s Warsong, which empowers all nearby allies, increasing their health and damage by 150%. The adds remain on the same percentage health as they were on before the Warsong is cast, so this buff makes them much more difficult to kill. Players must defeat the adds before they receive too many stacks of the Warsong and gain unkillable health pools. (Note that Siege Engineers seem to be out of range of this ability – they are not affected by Hellscream’s Warsong.)
A little while after the Warsong, Garrosh summons a Farseer Wolf Rider. The Wolf Rider will cast Chain Lightning on the raid, which deals moderate Nature damage to its target and jumps to other nearby targets. This does not seem to have a target cap, and so could chain through the entire raid, but the damage does not ramp up with each new target so it is not very threatening.
The Farseer Wolf Rider also casts Ancestral Chain Heal on his allies, healing them each for 25% of their maximum health. This healing scales with Hellscream’s Warsong, meaning that the longer the adds are alive, and the more heals the Wolf Riders are allowed to cast, the harder the raid will find it to defeat them. Fortunately, Ancestral Chain Heal is interruptible, and players should do whatever they can to prevent these casts from going off.
Whenever a Farseer Wolf Rider is interrupted, he gains a stack of Fury, increasing his cast speed by 25% per stack. This mechanic means players must take care not to interrupt Chain Lightning, so that Ancestral Chain Heal casts do not become too fast to interrupt!
The phase continues in this order: Warbringers, Siege Engineers, Hellscream’s Warsong, Farseer Wolf Riders, Iron Star Explosion; with Desecrate Weapons sprinkled throughout.
When Garrosh reaches 10% health, he will drink from the Heart of Y’Shaarj chained high above his head. This marks the end of Phase 1. Y’Shaarj’s blood grants Garrosh great power: increasing his health, healing him to full, and enabling several new abilities. But before Garrosh can use any of them, he will first pull players into the Realm of Y’Shaarj, where they must vanquish Minions embodying doubt, despair, or fear.
The Realm of Y’Shaarj phases last approximately one minute. Players will experience the first Realm of Y’Shaarj upon forcing Garrosh to transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2. Subsequent trips to the Realm of Y’Shaarj occur every 3 minutes during Phase 2. Every time Garrosh enters the Realm, he is healed for 10% of his health.
While in the Realm of Y’Shaarj, Garrosh gains Y’Shaarj’s Protection, granting him immunity to damage and allowing him to drain Energy from Y’Shaarj’s heart. Players must break Y’Shaarj’s protective spell – and interrupt Garrosh’s Energy absorption – by destroying all of the Sha minions in the Realm. Once the spell has been broken, the raid can engage Garrosh.
Garrosh has only one ability during this phase; Annihilate. He will face a random direction and smash the ground in front of him in a narrow cone, dealing fatal Shadow damage to any players standing in the cone. All players within the Realm will take moderate to heavy Shadow damage each time Annihilate occurs, regardless of their position.
There are three possible locations players can be transported to: Temple of the Jade Serpent, where players must defeat Embodied Doubt; Temple of the Red Crane, where players must defeat Embodied Despair; and Terrace of Endless Spring, where players must defeat Embodied Fear.
You’ll note that the raid must split up to defeat the two Embodied Despair adds on the staircases in Temple of the Red Crane. These adds must be tanked as they hit very hard, and will likely kill any player who engages them before the tanks do. Tanks won’t take much damage, so bored healers can help DPS the Embodied Despair.
Whenever an Embodied Despair dies, it shoots a yellow projectile toward a faint yellow swirly on the ground, and when that projectile lands, it creates a bubble of Hope. If players run through the bubble, they will receive the Hope buff, reducing damage taken by 50%. Note, though, that the bubble bursts a second or two after the very first person runs through it, so you must be careful to move as a group in order to ensure everyone receives Hope and to ease Annihilation healing.
Similarly, defeating Embodied Doubt in the Temple of the Jade Serpent will create bubbles of Faith. These bubbles are smaller, and will only grant the buff to a few players at a time.
There’s no real need for coordination as there are a fair few Embodied Doubts in the Temple, but keep an eye open for nearby players and wait for them before you burst a Faith bubble. The Faith buff granted by running through the bubble also reduces incoming damage by 50%.
In the Terrace of Endless Spring, Embodied Fear adds create single-serving bubbles of Courage when they die. Here it is important to note that players who already have the Courage buff can still pop a Courage bubble, so just be careful when you’re running and try to avoid popping extraneous bubbles, since other players in the raid may need them. Courage decreases incoming damage by 50%.
Courage, Hope, and Faith all expire upon leaving the Realm of Y’Shaarj.
During the second phase of the fight, Garrosh retains Desecrated Weapon and gains three new abilities. Depending on how much Energy the raid allows Garrosh to gain during the Realm of Y’Shaarj, these abilities may become Empowered; you are likely to see Empowered Whirling Corruption, but ideally you will complete the phase before Garrosh gains enough Energy to cast Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj. I’ll describe what these abilities do when Empowered in the Phase 3 section, but here’s the Energy thresholds for each of Garrosh’s abilities to become Empowered:
- 25 Energy: Whirling Corruption becomes Empowered Whirling Corruption
- 50 Energy: Touch of Y’Shaarj becomes Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj
- 75 Energy: Desecrated Weapon becomes Empowered Desecrated Weapon
- 100 Energy: Gripping Despair becomes Empowered Gripping Despair
Gripping Despair is a tank debuff that necessitates a tank swap. The debuff places a DoT effect on the tank, dealing light Shadow damage every second with each stack. The debuff only lasts 10 seconds, but is applied frequently. Tanks tend to end up switching every 3 or 4 stacks, because even though the damage from this ability is not very dangerous, Garrosh also hits very hard.
About 15 seconds into Phase 2, and approximately every 45 seconds thereafter, Garrosh will cast Touch of Y’Shaarj. This spell allows him to take control of several random members of your raid – 2 in 10-player format, and 4 in 25-player format – turning them into enemies that will try to cast Touch of Y’Shaarj on other players. The Touch of Y’Shaarj effect can only be broken by DPSing these players down to 20% of their health.
The mind-controlled players are susceptible to stuns, silences, and interrupts, and players will need to use these types of abilities to prevent the spread of Touch of Y’Shaarj throughout the raid.
While Typhoon will interrupt the Touch of Y’Shaarj cast, it also knocks them back, which can be frustrating for players trying to DPS. They also will resume casting instantly. Mighty Bash can help interrupt in an emergency.
Capacitor Totem is difficult to time since Touch of Y’Shaarj has a variable cooldown. I drop it 3 seconds before DBM thinks it’s going to happen, and usually get a stun off, but sometimes it detonates early.
Around 30 seconds into Phase 2, and every 50-ish seconds thereafter, Garrosh will cast Whirling Corruption, which deals heavy, periodic Shadow damage to the entire raid. Players will take less damage from this ability the further they are from the boss. In Phase 2, before this becomes Empowered, at least, Whirling Corruption is not very dangerous, and the use of raid cooldowns like Demoralizing Banner, Smoke Bomb, Devotion Aura, and Healing Tide Totem should be enough to keep players alive. Tank cooldowns may be helpful during Whirling Corruption if your tank also has several stacks of Gripping Despair.
The pattern of these abilities is pretty consistent, and you should see 3 Whirling Corruptions between each Realm of Y’Shaarj phase. You can easily assign healer CDs to each Whirling Corruption and have faith they’ll all be back up in time for the next set after the Realm of Y’Shaarj is completed.
When Garrosh reaches 10% health, he begins to drain the remaining power from the Heart of Y’Shaarj, gaining a full Energy bar and mutating into some sort of freakish purple Hulk. While he is draining energy, he is still vulnerable to damage, and although he heals moderately at the end of the drain – for something weird like 27% of his health? I can’t really track this down from my videos, and of course it’s not in logs *sigh* – your damage here is effective as he will be on lower health at the start of Phase 3 than he otherwise would have been.
(Great, now I’m imagining a giant, purple, hopped-up-on-the-blood-of-the-old-gods Garrosh in this scene from Scrubs.)
In this final phase, Garrosh retains all of the abilities he used in Phase 2, but they all become Empowered, since he has a full Energy bar.
Empowered Gripping Despair causes the tank debuff to have an additional effect when it fades from the tank. This effect is called Explosive Despair. It deals 15,000 damage to the raid per stack of Empowered Gripping Despair the tank had when the debuff expired – e.g., if your tank took 4 stacks of Empowered Gripping Despair, Explosive Despair would detonate for 60,000 damage.
This explosion also places the Explosive Despair debuff on the entire raid, giving them a number of stacks equal to the number of stacks the tank had on Empowered Gripping Despair – again, in this example, the entire raid would now have 4 stacks of Explosive Despair. This debuff causes all future Explosive Despair explosions to deal 10% more damage per stack. So, for example, if the next tank also took 4 stacks of Empowered Gripping Despair, his Explosive Despair would deal 84,000 damage (4 stacks at 15,000 per stack, plus 4 stacks of Explosive Despair for a 1.4x multiplier).
These numbers are extremely low, and Explosive Despair is unlikely to wipe a raid that is handling Phase 3 well. However, it does serve as sort of a soft enrage mechanic, in that eventually the raid can reach such high stacks of Explosive Despair that the damage may actually become threatening – or if one tank takes a truly ridiculous number of stacks of Empowered Gripping Despair, his subsequent Explosive Despair could be quite strong. The best way to deal with this mechanic is to maintain frequent tank swaps and kill Garrosh in a timely fashion!
Empowered Desecrated Weapon cannot be killed. DPS to the Weapon will still reduce the radius of the Weapon’s AoE, but the Weapon will slowly regenerate, refilling the area. This is best handled by simply moving the raid away from the Empowered Desecrated Weapon, and trying to place new Weapons close to the position of the old Weapons so the room does not fill up too quickly.
Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj transforms the mind-controlled players into Sha, and these Sha are immune to loss-of-control effects such as stuns and disorients. The Sha also have extra health, making it more difficult to break them out of the mind control effect. They will continue to attempt to cast Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj on other players unless interrupted or swiftly broken out.
Empowered Whirling Corruption is the only Empowered ability you should see in Phase 2. The Whirling Corruption deals no additional damage itself, but will now fire Shadow missiles at random players in the raid. These missiles will deal moderate Shadow damage to any players within 8 yards of the impact zone – so players should move away from the swirly purple areas on the ground – and will spawn a Minion of Y’Shaarj in that location. Six Minions spawn in both 10- and 25-player difficulties.
The Minion of Y’Shaarj has a conventional threat table, and melees for a moderate amount of Physical damage. When killed, it casts Empowering Corruption, which will heal any nearby Minions of Y’Shaarj to full health, increase their maximum health by 200%, and increase their damage dealt by 200%. It is vital that Minions of Y’Shaarj are not killed near other Minions. Ideally, your raid will spread out, and six players will hold aggro on a single Minion each. The remaining players can group back up and focus on killing off each Minion, but the raid must make sure that Minions do not die within 10 yards of other Minions. You can probably handle 1-2 Minions in melee range with careful positioning.
The order of abilities throughout Phase 3 is identical to Phase 2: Empowered Desecrate, Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj, then Empowered Whirling Corruption. Phase 3 continues until players have defeated Garrosh, but ideally, the shorter this phase, the better – so this is an ideal place to use Bloodlust/Heroism and strong CDs.
While this is a challenging encounter, it’s not particularly complicated from a strategy point of view. The mechanics simply must be executed well in order to get the kill, and you’ll have to choose the strategy that best maximises your raid’s strengths.
Before the pull, make sure you have a plan for the possibility that you’ll get transported to the Temple of the Red Crane. Try to split the raid into two groups that will deal roughly equivalent amounts of damage to a single target.
I’ll also note that on your first kill it may be possible to use Bloodlust/Heroism twice, depending on how quickly your raid pushes through Phases 1 and 2. If you are in doubt of being able to achieve this, though, save Bloodlust/Heroism for Phase 3, where everything is Empowered and much more difficult to deal with. A short Phase 3 is the key to success.
During Phase 1, the main strategy decision you’ll have to make is whether to kill both Siege Engineers, thus preventing both Iron Stars, or just kill one Siege Engineer. If you kill both Siege Engineers, then there is no chance that any player in your raid will die to Iron Star Impact and you will not have to heal through the Exploding Iron Star damage. However, your raid must be able to defeat the Kor’kron Warbringers and Farseer Wolf Riders before Garrosh’s second Warsong, or else they will likely become too difficult to kill.
If you kill only one Siege Engineer, then your raid can use the remaining Iron Star to kill any active adds, but this incurs the risk of players being struck by Iron Star Impact or dying to the Exploding Iron Star damage. If this strategy is chosen, you’ll need to coordinate roots/stuns/knockbacks to place the adds in the path of the Iron Star and hold them there, and you’ll need raid cooldowns to cover Exploding Iron Star damage. It takes slightly more planning to pull off, but can speed up Phase 1 by allowing DPS to focus more on Garrosh than the adds, ultimately resulting in fewer adds overall.
Otherwise, Phase 1 is fairly simple. You can control the positioning of the Desecrated Weapon by having the ranged stack at the desired location, and then move as a group to avoid its damage. Multi-dotters should dot the Weapon but it has fairly low health so direct damage to it is not terribly important, depending on your raid’s composition. Most of the DPS should be focused on bringing Garrosh to 10% whilst dealing as much damage to the adds as possible, and on interrupting the Wolf Rider’s Ancestral Chain Heal, but not the Chain Lightning, so that the Wolf Rider doesn’t gain too many stacks of Fury.
Note that you don’t have to defeat all of the adds before Garrosh reaches 10% – you’ll have some time while he’s drinking the Blood of Y’Shaarj to finish them off – and you’ve got a few seconds after between the start of Phase 2 and when you get sucked in to the Realm of Y’Shaarj, too. Since he heals to full while drinking the Blood and heals 10% of his health each Realm of Y’Shaarj phase, damage on Garrosh in this interim period is really not useful, so you may as well use the time productively on finishing off adds, unless you could shave off more than 10% of Garrosh’s health in this extremely brief period!
Your raid should aim for 17-20 energy gained in the Realm of Y’Shaarj. This means killing all the adds as quickly as possible, and means that for the majority of Phase 2 you will not have to deal with any Empowered abilities. You should be able to defeat Phase 2 before a third Realm of Y’Shaarj phase (6 minutes in to the phase), so that you do not have to reach 50+ Energy before the transition to Phase 3.
Once you’re out of the Realm of Y’Shaarj and in to Phase 2, the greatest challenge is in dealing with the Touch of Y’Shaarj. Strategies vary here for 10- or 25-player formats, but the idea is that your raid needs to be grouped up in order to use AoE stuns and interrupt effects (like Solar Beam) to be able to prevent the affected players from spreading the MC effect throughout your raid.
Since the order of abilities is Desecrate > Touch of Y’Shaarj > Whirling Corruption (with the second Whirling Corruption and the third Desecrate sometimes overlapping/swapping), you can have your ranged stack (or even stack in melee) for Touch of Y’Shaarj, run away for Whirling Corruption, and then collapse to a defined position to spawn the next Desecrate. Just be sure that your ranged know to get out for that 2nd Whirling/3rd Desecrate combo, or else Desecrate will spawn in melee and the raid may get scattered.
This strategy works very well until you have Empowered Whirling Corruption (25+ Energy). The Minions of Y’Shaarj cannot be killed in a stack, or else they will all get buffed to truly ridiculous levels. At this point, the raid must not only run away from Whirling Corruption, but also spread out so that Minions of Y’Shaarj spawn in similarly spread-out positions. This makes it easier for players to identify when a Minion is aggroed onto them and to drag it away from other nearby Minions in order to die. Those ranged players or healers without a Minion can collapse back to the stackpoint and help destroy the remaining Minions.
If your raid cannot kill all the Minions before the next Touch of Y’Shaarj, you’ll need to be very quick on the ranged stuns and interrupts for the mind-controlled players.
Ideally your raid will not allow Garrosh to gain 50 Energy during Phase 2, because having Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj and Minions of Y’Shaarj around at the same time is pretty difficult to deal with, and while it’s unavoidable in Phase 3, at least Phase 3 is short.
The Phase 3 strategy is very similar to the Phase 2 strategy, with the exception that more of the room will be dedicated to holding Empowered Desecrated Weapons, since they cannot be destroyed. Players shouldn’t even bother DPSing them since they will just regenerate health; focus attention on the boss and on quickly bursting down any mind-controlled players.
Having both Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj and Empowered Whirling Corruption is the most difficult part of this Phase. You can deal with this overlap in a couple of ways – one tank could pick up the Minions of Y’Shaarj and just drag them away from the raid, so that the rest of the raid can stay stacked up to DPS and interrupt the Empowered Touch of Y’Shaarj targets; you could simply ignore the Minions entirely, while single-target DPSing the MCed players; or your raid could remain spread out, defeating both Minions and MCed players as they arise. The latter option does not give you much time on the boss, however, and is probably not ideal. Some groups find it easier to group up to deal with the first MC, kill the first Minions, and then ignore all subsequent Minions.
You will need cooldowns for: Exploding Iron Star (optional mechanic), Whirling Corruption, Annihilate, Empowered Whirling Corruption
Dispels: Removing your allies’ debuffs from players who just got broken out of the Touch of Y’Shaarj mind control effect
Debuffs to track: Touch of Y’Shaarj, Gripping Despair (tank debuff)
Points of failure:
- Players do not kill the adds in Phase 1 quickly enough, allowing them to gain too many stacks of Hellscream’s Warsong, essentially rendering them unkillable;
- Players allow the Farseer Wolf Riders to cast too many Chain Heals – either through not interrupting them, or by interrupting Chain Lightnings and granting them stacking spell haste – prolonging the adds’ life;
- The raid does not kill at least one of the Siege Engineers, or otherwise fails to avoid the Iron Star instant death mechanic;
- Players push Garrosh into Phase 2 with high-health adds still alive;
- The raid does not break Y’Shaarj’s Protection in the Realm of Y’Shaarj quickly, allowing Garrosh to gain too much Energy, and granting him access to powerful Empowered abilities;
- The raid fails to dodge Annihilation when engaging Garrosh in the Realm of Y’Shaarj;
- Players affected by Touch of Y’Shaarj are allowed to free-cast Touch of Y’Shaarj, charming too many raid members;
- Players kill a Minion of Y’Shaarj too near another Minion(s), granting the surviving Minion(s) a stack of Empowered Corruption;
- Players push Garrosh into Phase 3 with a large number of Minions still active.
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of Siege of Orgrimmar, and the end of this rather epic series of posts! Now it’s time for Heroic …
I’ll note that these SoO guides are for the most part very helpful for Heroic raiding, since most of the Heroic changes are of the “everything hurts more and you have to execute all these mechanics smoothly” variety. There’s a few fights where these guides won’t suffice – Sha of Pride, Siegecrafter Blackfuse, Paragons of the Klaxxi, and of course, this one, in particular – as there are exciting and significant new mechanics to deal with. I hope to get around to posting about the Heroic mode changes to all the fights … let’s just say, “soon” 🙂