Arcane Sanctum: Bastion of Shadows and Destructor’s Rise for Mages
Once you’ve progressed through the first two wings of Hellfire Citadel, you’ll start tackling some of the more complicated encounters. It’s all leading up to the final big bad — Archimonde himself. We’ll be looking at all seven of the remaining bosses in this article! If you’d like some Mage tips for Hellbreach and Halls of Blood, you can find them right here. All of the encounters described below apply to LFR, normal and heroic difficulty.
This article is specific to Mages, with Mage tips, and is not a comprehensive guide to boss strategy. If you want more info about these encounters, check out our Hellfire Citadel hub. We’re considering these encounters on LFR, normal, and heroic difficulty.
Bastion of Shadows
Shadow Lord Iskar looks like a complicated fight at first, but with careful management it’s actually pretty fun. The fight is largely stationary punctuated by intervals of movement. Feel free to use Rune of Power — just place one rune close to the boss and one in the typical spot you’re standing in. Even if you’re fighting pushback from Phantasmal Winds, you can Blink to your other Rune and still continue to DPS. Ice Floes is useful here as well since it allows you to keep casting and running before you’re forced to Blink.
Cleave damage is king for this fight if you’re looking to top the meters, but focused single target is actually equally important since your primary goal is to DPS the most harmful adds as quickly as possible in each air phase. All specs should look at talent choices that maximize their multi-target damage, including Arcane Orb, Frost Bomb, Living Bomb, and Meteor.
Time Warp is usually used during the third air phase in order to kill the Fel Raven (some groups may opt to prioritize another add instead) as quickly as possible.
Socrethar the Eternal
Another reasonably stationary fight that allows easy use of both Rune of Power and Prismatic Crystal. Consider glyphing Blink so you have an easy way to blink out to drop a Felblaze Charge and then Blink back immediately to wherever your group is stacked. You’ll likely be on Counterspell duty during this fight to make sure that Shadow Callers move towards your group and then are cleaved down.
Although there are adds in the fight you’ll primarily want to optimize your single target damage as much as possible. If your group is utilizing the strategy that focuses on burning Socrethar down near the red portal, Time Warp is effective after the first Dominator has been killed and before another one spawns.
This encounter will require you to have a strong handle on its mechanics — when you can and can’t move, and what the DPS priority will be. It’s a three-phase encounter, and in the first phase you will move as little as possible. In the last phase you’ll be moving quite a bit. So although stationary talents like Rune of Power are fine for phase one, you may want to opt for Incanter’s Flow instead so that you’re equipped overall for everything Velhari will throw at you. If you’re finding that your movement throughout is actually minimal, you can still give Rune of Power a try. You’re also fine to use Prismatic Crystal, because the boss herself doesn’t move very much for the majority of the fight.
During phase one, your focus should be doing as much damage to Velhari herself as possible and mostly ignoring the Enforcer she summons. Note that if you are targeted with her Annihilating Strike ability, you can use Greater Invisibility to remove it. Once she transitions to phase two, you’ll want to finish off the Enforcer quickly. The next adds that she will summon, Ancient Harbinger and Ancient Sovereign, are both priority targets. Time Warp is usually used in phase three when the Sovereign is summoned to finish it off quickly.
Fel Lord Zakuun
Your primary concern for this fight will depend on which of Zakuun’s mechanics you will be handling. With careful damage reduction talent selection, Mages can be very powerful for soaking Rumbling Fissures or Wake of Destruction waves from Cavitation. (But not both at the same time, otherwise you will explode.) If talented, Evanesce allows you to soak a wave every second set. Greater Invisibility can be used to great effect for this as well.
This is a complicated, four-phase encounter that’ll have you on your toes avoiding raid damage and killing swaths of priority adds. This is one of the few fights in Hellfire Citadel that is an AoE/cleave fight and so Fire could really shine here. If you’re playing either Arcane or Frost, optimize your talent choices for maximum cleave including Arcane Orb, Supernova, Frost Bomb and Glyph of Splitting Ice if you aren’t already using it.
Blink is your friend for this fight. You’ll be Blinking out of the group if you’re affected by Fel Surge (just don’t blink off the edge of the platform). You will also be Blinking far away if you’re linked to other raid members with Chains of Fel and to get out of Volatile Voidstep.
Greater Invisibility and Evanesce can both be used to absorb Black Holes and if you are responsible for helping clear out the Chaotic Felblaze patches towards the end of phase two. Time Warp will be used when Xhul’horac reaches 20% health and begins his fourth and final phase.
Throughout this fight you will be defeating a series of summoners, the adds that they summon, and finally Mannoroth himself. Prepare your talents for a combination of single target burn to defeat the summoner adds and Mannoroth, with some healthy AoE mixed in for dealing with packs of imps and other “fun” demons.
If you are affected by Mark of Doom, you’ll be able to handily Blink to the center of the room and take a brief tick of damage from the Blood of Mannoroth there in order to remove it. During phase one while you’re fighting adds there are a number of abilities you can Counterspell so use it on cooldown whenever you’re able to interrupt a Shadow Bolt Volley or an imp casting Fel Blast.
Remember that we can dispel Curse of the Legion, which will deal damage to you and spawn a Doom Lord. You can volunteer for this responsibility if you want, but in any case if you’re personally affected Blink to the tank, use Greater Invisibility and you can Remove Curse to take care of it (although make sure your raid/healers know beforehand that you’ll be doing this).
Your other movement abilities can be useful here, such as Blink for Shadowforce and possibly Blazing Speed. The fear from Mannoroth’s Gaze can be removed with Ice Block. Time Warp will be used in the final phase after Mannoroth has finished casting Empowered Shadowforce.
The final encounter of Hellfire Citadel is the worthy Archimonde. As you’d expect, this is a lengthy encounter befitting an end boss. It’s comprised of three phases. The encounter is fairly high movement and you’ll want to be prepared for casting on the run in whatever way possible for your spec: Ice Lance, Ice Floes, and Incanter’s Flow rather than Rune of Power.
In phase one, you’ll need to Blink to the designated location if you’re targeted by a Doomfire Spirit. Similarly, when your raid groups up to use Allure of Flames to relocate the fire, Blink out to avoid taking damage from it as it spawns. The other mechanic during this fight is Shadowfel Burst. You can use Greater Invisibility or Ice Block if targeted with Shadow Burst to avoid being launched into the air at all.
For phase two, be ready to move out quickly if you’re one of the two players afflicted with Wrought Chaos or Focused Chaos. It chooses a new target after each burst so if you can Blink right out, that will be ideal. Similarly, if you get Shackled Torment you should Blink away from the location where you were affected with the debuff. Glyph of Rapid Displacement is a good idea for this encounter. Your overall DPS priority should be the adds in this phase, generally Deathcallers > Overfiends > Dreadstalkers.
In phase three, make sure you have a slow prepared for the Void Star because they can be slowed but are immune to other forms of CC. Use either Glyph of Slow or Glyph of Ignite, or your natural slows if you are Frost. You’ll use Time Warp when Archimonde reaches 25% as long as the group of players have returned from the Twisting Nether.
This concludes our look at Hellfire Citadel’s bosses for Mages! Good luck and have fun as you reach the end of this rewarding and varied raid instance.
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