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WoWJan 23, 2020 10:00 am CT

How to handle the Season 4 Mythic+ Affix, Awakened

With the new season of Mythic+ upon us, you have an exciting opportunity to burn through all of your cooldowns and die to a brand-new seasonal affix. So let’s break down what the new Season 4 affix is and how to handle it!

What is the new affix?

Awakened is the new seasonal affix that is active in all Mythic+ dungeons at keystones 10 and up. It spawns four obelisks in each dungeon which, when clicked, will phase you into a shadow realm and spawn a mini-boss and adds each time. When you kill the mini-boss, it leaves a portal you must click to exit to the normal part of the dungeon.

Because ordinary mobs can’t see or interact with you while you’re in the shadow realm, it’s possible to kite the miniboss to a convenient point where you’d like to pop out — say, past a trash pack that you don’t want to deal with. The portals remain afterwards and are effectively a fixed skip for the length of the run.

Where are the obelisks?

The obelisks are located at four different points in each dungeon. Method Dungeon Tools has been updated with their locations if you want to preview or plan a route in advance. Annoyingly, some are located in places where you wouldn’t ordinarily be pulling (e.g., the bottom route to the final boss in Underrot or left of Volkaal in Atal’Dazar), but Awakened allows you to skip aggressively, so over-capping on trash shouldn’t be an issue.

Because this is the first week the affix has been live, we’re not sure whether obelisk locations are going to change as Beguiling emissaries did. However, Ion Hazzikostas indicated that that is likely.

How does the affix work?

The usual process is this:

  1. Clear trash around an obelisk.
  2. Once you’re out of combat, click it to enter the shadow realm and spawn the mini-boss. As it will aggro immediately, it’s wise to ensure the tank is the first person to click.
  3. Kill the adds first (we’ll discuss their mechanics below).
  4. While killing the mini-boss, kite it wherever you want to exit in the “real” dungeon.
  5. Optional: Run out of cooldowns and die.
  6. Once the mini-boss dies and you’re out of combat, click the portal to exit.

What do the minibosses do?

Each of the four obelisks spawns a different mini-boss and adds:

  • Defiled Spire will spawn the Blood of the Corruptor. The adds are five Mindrend Tentacles, which will cast Mind Flay on random targets and should be interrupted when possible. The Blood itself will cast Defiled Ground, sometimes on random players and sometimes on itself. This does serious damage, so just make sure you keep moving and don’t stand in it. Its melee damage isn’t serious.
  • Brutal Spire will spawn Urg’roth, Breaker of Heroes: This is the “tank buster” miniboss. The adds are a bunch of Malicious Growth on the ground, which will slow and damage anyone in melee. They should be AOE’d down from range if possible. Urg’groth himself will cast Spirit Breaker, which is a massive smack on the tank and will increase damage taken by 100% for 8 seconds, and Dark Fury, which will damage anything in a purple circle around him. Dark Fury is easy to avoid, and ideally tanks should be well outside of Spirit Breaker’s 20-yard range as much as possible. I took one hit in the interests of science, which cost me approximately 85% of my health with active mitigation up. Be prepared to blow a cooldown if he’s charging it up and you don’t think you’ll avoid it. Keep kiting and make sure you’re not anywhere near the adds, because getting slowed here is not a good idea.
  • Cursed Spire will spawn Voidweaver Mal’thir. The adds are five Explosive Scarab, which — as advertised — explode for a lot of damage and leaving a ticking poison DoT on anything within 15 yards. It’s a lot of damage for the healer to have to deal with, so stay away from them when they’re about to explode (the cast takes four seconds, so you’ve got time). Voidweaver himself is not very dangerous and will spend most of his time infecting targets with a disease or a curse, which should be dispelled.
  • Entropic Spire will spawn Samh’rek, Beckoner of Chaos: This is probably the most annoying miniboss overall. The adds are five Ravenous Fleshfiend and should be killed as quickly as possible, as they stack a dangerous bleed. While kiting them, I noticed that the bleed seemed to be going on melee DPS who didn’t have aggro, so they may be similar to other mobs in M+ that will simply hit melee if they can’t reach the tank. Samh’rek himself is not terribly dangerous but will keep tossing Cascading Terror out, which will fear the target and anyone in a circle around them if not dispelled. Spread out.

Outside of the Mindrend Tentacles (which benefit from low-cooldown interrupts), the mini-bosses and adds seem easier for a ranged group to handle than melee. As M+ has definitely favored melee in Battle for Azeroth, this may be intentional.

What if I skip an obelisk?

You can do this, but any mini-boss you didn’t kill during the dungeon will spawn when you pull the final boss. In certain dungeons and/or with certain affix combinations, you can probably get away with this. However, at early gear levels, it’s a risky strategy that I wouldn’t recommend for anyone outside of the most experienced groups, and even then certain mini-bosses (notably Urg’roth and Samh’rek) are probably too dangerous to be left alive when you’re occupied with a boss.

How does Awakened affect routes?

Realistically, you’ll probably find yourself pulling packs that you would otherwise have skipped if an obelisk happens to spawn there. I ran an Underrot with guildies earlier, and we were disappointed to find that the Blood of the Corruptor obelisk was next to a tick pack at the beginning (all of UR’s tick packs are customarily skipped), and that Samh’rek’s obelisk is on the bottom route to the last boss (which is never used). However, Awakened gives you some latitude to pick which trash packs you have to deal with otherwise, and you can afford to be a little choosy.

We’re at the very beginning of the season with the top Mythic+ players still occupied with Ny’alotha and gearing up, so it’ll be a little while before there’s an established set of routes. In the meantime, just assume you’ll pick up percentage from the mob packs around the obelisks, and then plan from there.

Are the entry and exit points locked to specific mini-bosses?

Nope. An interesting little quirk is that you can enter and exit through any of the mini-boss portals. For example, you can enter through the portal you used to kill Voidweaver and exit through the portal where Samh’rek died, and vice versa. Early obelisks and canny placement afterwards will allow you to cross huge sections of a dungeon without any risk of aggroing mobs. That includes other mini-bosses; they will not activate until their obelisks are clicked.

I’m curious to see the routes and strategies that will develop, and I think this is a pretty interesting new affix. Let’s celebrate by blowing all of our cooldowns and dying.

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