The first official War Machine raid for Cataclysm has been scheduled, and it’s Throne of the Four Winds and will be happening on Saturday 22nd of January at 8:30pm server time. Some of us have already had a couple of attempts at the first encounter, the Conclave of Wind, but in case you haven’t or need a refresher, here’s the Tankspot guide to the encounter.
The Conclave of Wind is the first of only two encounters in Throne of the Four Winds, making the raid similar to the Obsidian and Ruby Sanctum raids of WotLK in length. The instance is made up of 5 platforms suspended in the air and connected by streams of wind – four smaller platforms positioned around a larger central platform. One platform is empty and is where the group will enter the instance. The other three outer platforms each contain one of the minibosses of the Conclave of Wind encounter, and the central platform houses the final boss of the instance, Al’Akir. Unlike the two sanctum raids however, we will be taking on the first 3 minibosses at the same time. Think of it like Four Horsemen from Naxxramas, but with one less horseman. The proximity mechanics of Four Horsemen apply to the Conclave of Wind as well (at least one person must be on each of the 3 boss platforms at all times), but the caveat here however is all 3 minibosses must die within one minute of each other.
Since all three minibosses are engaged at once, the raid is split into three groups. Each of the three minibosses has their own subset of abilities and mechanics that each group needs to be aware of. In addition, the bosses share an energy bar which when full initiates the casting of each boss’s “ultimate” ability. The three bosses are Anshal (Nature), Rohash (Wind) and Nezir (Frost).
Anshal’s group will consist of one tank, one healer and the majority of the DPS. His abilities are all Nature-centric, so Nature resist can help with this boss. He will periodically cast a healing circle on the ground which heals him and his allies for 20k per second as well as silencing any raid members caught in the circle. The circle looks similar to the ones that the dragons in Vortex Pinnacle cast. Anshal and the adds he summons must be dragged out of this circle and any other raid members must make sure they stay out of it as well. At 30 energy, Anshal starts a cast called Nurture, which lasts 5 seconds and summons one Ravenous Creeper each second. These adds are priority targets for all DPS on Anshal’s platform, as they cast Toxic Spores on raid members, doing damage and causing a stacking DoT on anyone in range. They really become problematic after the ultimate ability, which in Anshal’s case is called Zephyr. Zephyr heals and applies a stacking damage buff to both Anshal and any creepers left up, which means big problems for the group after the ultimate ends if any creepers remain.
Rohash does not need to be tanked in the traditional sense, so his group consists of a healer and the remaining DPS. Rohash casts tornadoes on the platform so the group there needs to avoid them or risk being blown off the edge. He will occasionally cast Slicing Gale on a random person, which does nature damage and should be healed through. When the energy bar hits 30 he will start channeling Wind Blast, at which point he faces a random direction on the platform and begins to fire a blast of wind towards the edge of the platform while slowly rotating clockwise – think the Wailing Souls laser blast ability of the Devourer of Souls, the last boss in Forge of Souls. If you are hit by this you will be knocked off the platform, and if everyone on the platform is knocked off the enrage mechanic kicks in causing a wipe. Rohash’s ultimate attack is Hurricane, and throws the group up in the air much like Malygos’ vortex ability. This causes fairly minimal damage and should be easily healed through, but the healer should remember to take into account fall damage when the hurricane ends. Other than the mechanics just described, Rohash is the easiest of the three bosses to deal with.
Frost damage is what you can expect here, and lots of it. One tank and one healer are all that will be with this boss initially. Nezir periodically casts Permafrost in a cone in front of him, which deals frost damage for 3 seconds and leaves a patch of ice behind afterwards which does damage and slows, so the tank should face the boss away from anyone else on the platform and move out of the ice patch as required. The big concern with Nezir however is Wind Chill, which hits everyone on the platform for 10k frost damage and applies a debuff increasing frost damage taken by 10% for 35 seconds. This debuff stacks indefinitely, which requires a periodic tank and healer switch which I’ll cover shortly. Nezir’s ultimate ability is Sleet Storm and does 30k damage per second to everyone on the platform, however this 30k is split evenly between everyone on the platform.
The most complicated aspect of this encounter is the platform switching that the ultimate abilities, Nezir’s debuff and the one minute death timer necessitate. Initially, each group deals with their assigned bosses as described above. Once the energy bar reaches around 80, a number of switches will occur. All DPS will switch to Nezir’s platform, Nezir’s tank and healer will switch to Anshal’s platform, and Anshal’s tank and healer will switch to Nezir’s platform. The healer on Rohash’s platform stays where they are. Switching platforms is easy as jumping into the wind stream between the platforms you wish to switch between. Be sure to check your alignment though – if you’re too far off you may go flying into empty space.
At 90 energy, the bosses will cast their respective ultimate abilities. You cannot switch platforms once the ultimate cast has begun, so it is important that people make switches they need to beforehand. All the DPS should now be at Nezir along with a new tank and healer, and therefore the 30k damage per second done by Sleet Storm should be split 7 ways among people with no Wind Chill debuff, meaning each person will take approximately 4300 damage per second which should be healable with today’s health levels. DPS should take this opportunity to do some damage to Nezir as well, as he will otherwise take very little damage.
Once the ultimate ability ends, all DPS should go back to the platforms they were previously on. The tanks and healers that switched however need to remain where they are – this is to let the tank and healer that switched to Anshal have time to let their Wind Chill debuff drop off. From this point on the encounter repeats – deal with your respective bosses (and adds in the case of Anshal’s group) and begin the switch again at around 80 energy. The tank/healer teams from Anshal and Nezir will switch places again and once the second ultimate phase is over everyone will be back at their original starting positions.
Assuming all goes well, this cycle will repeat until the bosses are close to death, usually Rohash will be a little ahead of Anshal with Nezir a bit further behind. When Rohash is about to drop, kill him and Anshal as quickly as possible. Once they’re both down, everyone will switch to Nezir’s platform and finish him off. This needs to be done quickly to avoid the timer, so blow your DPS cooldowns at this point.
I will be going over this strategy before the raid on the night as usual and will be available for questions as well. Feel free to post any queries about the encounter as comments here also or correct me if I’ve remembered something incorrectly.