Lightsworn: Retribution in Blackrock Foundry, part 2
Welcome to Lightsworn, Blizzard Watch’s regular paladin column. Today, Dan Desmond (@Antigen_) is here to speak retribution in your general direction.
Last time on Lightsworn, we discussed the first two wings of Blackrock Foundry and how to ret your way through them. Well, technically the last paladin column was Matt Walsh going over the basics of tanking, but you’re here because you enjoy the finer things in life – trading stock tips with your chums at the yacht club, noshing on artisanal cheeses, and hitting things with a big stick.
With the last wing of Blackrock Foundry opening this week in LFR, now’s as good a time as any to wrap this two-parter up. We’ll take a look at the bosses in the Iron Assembly and then finish with mean old Blackhand himself. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Disassembling the Iron Assembly
The third wing of Blackrock Foundry is a roller coaster that ascends a two hundred foot incline, drops you at potentially lethal yet euphoria-inducing speed, then stops abruptly and flings you into a massive pile of fermenting garbage. I mean, your mileage may vary, but that’s been my experience so far.
Beastlord Darmac I’ve been brushing up on my Tamarian, let’s give this a whirl:
The beast at Tanagra. Kiazi’s children, their faces wet. Temba, his arms wide. Sokath, his eyes uncovered!
Beastlord unsurprisingly has a number of beasts at his command. When he mounts one of the three large beasts, a new mechanic is introduced that he keeps until the end of the fight. Therefore, being able to choose which abilities he gains first (by having your tank position him close to the preferred beast) is very helpful.
From a DPS perspective. this encounter hinges on two components, cleave damage and situational awareness.
Periodically Darmac will Call the Pack, which brings a handful of small beasts into the room. In addition, spears from his Pin Down ability will remain until the end of the fight and can make survival difficult with Seeking Embers; cleaving both of these types of mobs down gradually will be the surest path to victory. Mass Exorcism and Double Jeopardy will give you a nice damage boost here.
There are also a number of ground effects and casts that you need to avoid. Rend and Tear will target the tanks but splash everyone within 7 yards of the boss’s impact; make sure to get out of melee for a couple seconds to avoid taking a stack of the debuff. I found Long Arm of the Law to be really handy for this, hitting Darmac with Judgment as he leapt away.
Pin Down will leave a blue-white swirl on the ground where a spear will shortly be landing, so simply watch your feet. Note that immunities like Divine Shield unfortunately do not help to unpin you for whatever silly reason. If you do get stuck make sure to call it out and have your cohorts free you.
Inferno Breath and Superheated Shrapnel are both frontal cone attacks that are fairly easy to avoid if you’re paying attention to where Darmac is facing, and the accompanying Flame Infusion will bring lots of fire patches to dance around. If you’re having trouble with damage in this phase, you could think about using an unglyphed Divine Protection, though I usually enter the encounter with it glyphed because Rend and Tear is much more troublesome and often harder to avoid than static ground effects.
Operator Thogar In the comments of my previous post, Ilmyrn said:
Similarly, I heard from a number of others who told me that I would love Thogar if Hans and Franz really pumped me up. After the first couple of pulls I was unconvinced; however, as we saw more and more of the fight and I was mercilessly run down by a few fiery trains I began cackling uncontrollably, shouting “Choo choo!” every time a raid member was clipped by the 3:15 to Albuquerque.
There are a few ways you can stay on the right track(s) during this encounter. The simplest way, the method I ended up using, is to position your camera so that it’s facing the four doors on either side of the room and changing tracks when you see the doors open (announcing the switches over voice chat, if you’re feeling generous). Additionally, you could download an addon called Thogar Assist which tells you not only where trains will be arriving but also what trains they will be (as the encounter has a set train schedule – Thogar is nothing if not efficient). DBM does some of this already through raid warnings, but if you prefer the visuals of Thogar Assist then by all means.
Aside from dodging flaming locomotives, this fight is another test of your ability to hit Hammer of the Righteous and Divine Storm. Some cars carry loads of reinforcements, smaller adds that just need to be cleaved down, while other cars bring Firemenders and Men-at-Arms that need to be taken out quickly before their respective abilities, Cauterizing Bolt and Iron Bellow, get out of hand.
Regardless of your primary target, AoE damage is big here. Carry Mass Exorcism and Double Jeopardy over from the Beastlord encounter while bolstering your cleave potential by speccing into Light’s Hammer. You could take Light’s Hammer for Beastlord as well, but I’ve found the combination of the beasts’ low health and heavy movement on that encounter make Execution Sentence a better option.
Otherwise there are only a couple of extra mechanics to worry about – don’t stand in the ground effect of Prototype Pulse Grenade, don’t stand next to exploding bombs (they hurt, what a shock!), and if you’re targeted by Delayed Siege Bomb from a turret, run out of the raid and have them drop somewhere where they’ll explode in peace. Bear in mind for that last mechanic you can avoid taking damage if you keep moving, as the bombs have a travel time before they land.
Iron Maidens A part of me feels bad for equating this fight with a “massive pile of fermenting garbage,” but seeing it for the first time (via the Raid Finder, no less) left me feeling quite nauseous.
Some of that queasiness is due to the inherent lack of coordination that the Raid Finder brings, but mechanically this fight is cluttered beyond belief. There’s a squiggly red beam that you only want a tank to soak, there’s a straight red beam that you want everyone else to soak, there are bombs you want to stack on and then move away from after other bombs blow up, and there’s a whole separate area with three different phases. And that doesn’t even cover the other debuffs or non-beam targeted abilities. Needless to say, The Fallen Protectors 2.0 requires a great deal of situational awareness, smart positioning, and, that’s right, cleave damage.
Of all the debuffs in the fight, the only ones you need to worry about for your own survival are Blood Ritual, Rapid Fire, and to some extent Convulsive Shadows.
- Blood Ritual will put the aforementioned squiggly red line between you and Marak. When you get this, run out of melee and make sure a tank is the closest person between you and the boss to ensure that you don’t one-shot an unsuspecting raid member. The debuff lasts 5 seconds, so as long as you react quickly you shouldn’t need to use a speed boost (though it probably wouldn’t hurt).
- Rapid Fire targets a random person with a slowly tracking circle that will shoot explosive shots at the reticle’s position. If you’re targeted, get out of melee very quickly. If you see the reticle coming near you, move. Because of this combination of “get out of the way now” abilities, I prefer Long Arm again here.
- Convulsive Shadows is a random debuff thrown out by Sorka and because of how it works your healers likely won’t be dispelling it. Just pop an unglyphed Divine Protection to help soak the damage.
Also, you can and definitely should stack in the Penetrating Shot (straight red) beam to help split damage. I have heard that casting Hand of Protection on the target of Penetrating Shot should cancel the debuff and put it on cooldown, but I haven’t personally tested that yet.
The only boat phase that makes sense for melee to go up is when Admiral Gar’an leaps up there as the other two phases feature constantly spawning ground effects and ranged casts that need to be intercepted by the tank. Fortunately for Gar’an’s phase, all you need to do is kill Uktar while interrupting Battle Medic Rogg’s Earthen Barrier. If you’re begrudgingly sent up for Marak’s or Sorka’s phases, watch your feet and get out of melee if you’re targeted by Deadly Throw, respectively.
The last two portions of this fight you have to worry about are bombs and turrets. When one of the bosses jumps up to the ship she will start firing bombs at your raid down below. After the first wave of bombs lands, you will need to actually stack up on them because every other position will be hit with a second wave of bombs. After the second wave of bombs goes out and the first wave’s bombs start to detonate, move to the newer bombs. Once the first wave’s bombs explode and the second wave’s start to detonate, move into the newly empty space. This sounds complicated but you only have to move something like ten yards back and forth; just follow the tank and you’re gravy.
Turrets, on the other hand, only spawn in the final phase when the bosses reach full energy. It will rotate, spitting out fiery cannonballs in all directions, and should be killed quickly. However, they don’t seem to like having people in their melee range, so do what you can with what ranged attacks you have (Judgment and Hammer of Wrath, that is – don’t even think about unglyphing Mass Exorcism!) and just avoid the fireballs as best you can.
Blackhand This is it. This fight is for all of Blackhand’s marbles, and boy does he have some shiny marbles. At the time of writing I haven’t hit this fight yet, but from the looks of it, Blackhand should lift us out of the steaming trash heap that is Iron Maidens, hose us down, and plop us on the tilt-a-whirl with two fistfuls of cotton candy.
The ultimate encounter of Blackrock Foundry is a three phase fight, each phase taking place on a different floor. Certain mechanics get carried from one phase into the next, some get left behind, and a few evolve from minor annoyances into slightly less minor annoyances. Let’s take it from the top!
Blackhand’s first phase lasts until he reaches 70% health. Aside from avoiding typical ground effects like Molten Slag, Demolition, and Slag Bombs, the first 30% of the encounter is fairly simple. This slow start will give you time to learn how to deal with the Marked for Death ability.
Marked for Death works somewhat like Blood Ritual from Iron Maidens in that anyone standing between the targeted player and the boss will get hit. While this means that you always need to pay attention to where he’s aiming (even if you’re not being targeted) indicated by arrows at his feet, it also means that you can use debris from a Massive Demolition to block the shot. Whenever possible, try to stack up behind a pile with others who are targeted with this ability to prolong this safety net. If you run out of piles to hide behind before the transition, note that you can use Divine Shield on yourself, Hand of Protection on others, in order to block the initial damage – the DoT will still be applied, however.
Because you only have six seconds from the time you’re Marked for Death before you’re hit, I’d probably recommend either Long Arm or Speed of Light here. Note that you do receive a 30% movement speed increase when you’re affected by the debuff, meaning speed boosts aren’t too critical as long as you’re on your toes. Also, because Marked for Death is carried over into each subsequent phase, Clemency could be a valuable talent to pick up. I might still stick with Unbreakable Spirit (Divine Shield’s cooldown reduced to 2.5 minutes? Yes please!) because we have a plethora of paladins in our raid, but if there were ever an encounter to switch, it’d be this one.
As you transition into the second phase you’ll drop down a floor into a large warehouse. Here two new complications will arise – Siegemakers and Iron Soldiers.
Siegemakers, slow-moving spiky tank things, roll out of one of four doors on each side of the room and Fixate on the player closest to it. A ranged DPS should be the one assigned to kite this around the room so you shouldn’t have to worry too much, but do keep track of it because it is the only thing you can hide behind for Marked for Death during this phase. Siegemakers need to be killed before they reach full energy lest they spew fire everywhere, so toss some ranged spells on it if your ranged players can’t quite do the job alone.
Iron Soldiers spawn on balconies on opposite sides of the room and take pot shots at your raid. To kill these (as a bursty, cleavey melee damage-dealer, you should be assigned to killing these) you will need to be catapulted by Blackhand’s Shattering Smash. Simply draw a line between the active tank, yourself, and the intended balcony, and you should be soaring through the air like crystal stemware out of the back of a delivery truck. While you’re up there, cleave down as many adds as you can before the ticking damage overwhelms and kills you, jump down, and get ready to do it all over again.
Naturally, our aforementioned cleave glyphs would be valuable here, but keep in mind that this is the only part of the encounter when more than one target is in melee range. It might not be worth stripping Exorcism of its 30 yard range if you’re knocked back or have to run out often. Additionally, the random burst potential of Divine Purpose might be helpful as well, but the potential proc droughts the talent brings makes me favor Sanctified Wrath.
Once Blackhand reaches 30% health he will shatter the floor again, dropping himself and your raid onto a pillar of glowing igneous rock. Note that it is indeed possible to fall off the edges, so if you’re a compulsive jumper like I am (my poor spacebar) do your best to restrain yourself. Only three of the previous mechanics have been carried over for this last phase, but they’ve been tempered by the increased heat and pressure.
Marked for Death still happens, only the damage will hit every target in its path and the knockback effect is much more pronounced. Also, there’s no way to block it anymore – make good use of those immunities! Unfortunately we don’t have a Blink or Charge-like ability to negate the knockback (no, Falling Avenger doesn’t count); I hope you have good aim.
Slag Bombs have been upgraded with Covenant technology to stick to their targets and then explode. Upon detonation, a Slag Hole will be created which will erupt after Blackhand casts Massive Shattering Smash. The placement of these holes is crucial as they restrict your positioning for the rest of the encounter, acting as a soft enrage.
Massive Shattering Smash is somehow more massive now (I guess Blackhand wasn’t putting his back into it before) and the damage needs to be split by the entire raid. The smash still has a knockback component, but fortunately you’ve had some practice with this in the second phase. Draw a line between the active tank, yourself, and a clear spot in the middle of the platform, then run back to the edge with your tank after the knockback.
Lather, rinse, and repeat until either the boss is dead or your raid is. Hopefully it’s the former.
Until next time!
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