This fight isn’t all that different from normal mode. The mechanics are mostly the same, you just have to handle more damage. Most of your wipes will likely be the result of your damage dealers failing to clear out the shadow adds near the end or due to the enrage timer.
I didn’t narrate this guide, but it’s annotated with roughly the same information that’s in this post.
Differences between Normal and Heroic
For tanks, the only significant difference is that there will be three Severers to kill before you can exit the spirit realm, compared to only one in normal mode. Two of the Severers are visible to your raid. No other changes affect the tanks.
Similar to normal mode, this ability transfers the damage taken by the tank to two other people, and any damage they take is transfered to the tank. This transfers all damage, including Stagger damage for monks, so you want to do your best to reduce the damage you take.
Active mitigation and absorbs will reduce the damage other voodoo dolls take, with the exception of Gara’jal’s Shadowy Attacks (which I’ll talk about later). You should focus on avoidance and full damage reduction/absorption skills and stats, as opposed to heals. Healing is still good for your personal survival, but doesn’t help the poor souls sharing your damage.
Damage reduction cooldowns will also reduce damage to other voodoo dolls. Avoided attacks mean no damage is transfered.
For brewmasters, you should be able to keep Shuffle up at ridiculous levels (I had more than a 1min duration for most of the fight), so you should have more chi available for other things. I recommend using it on Purifying Brew, even at green levels, because all that damage gets transfered to your buddies and a 15k tick every second over 9 seconds is much scarier to a mage than it is to you.
Every few seconds, the boss will hit the tank with an attack that deals a large amount of shadow damage (typically 150k). These aren’t normal magic attacks however, and only some damage reduction techniques apply to them. Basically, only random, uncontrollable mitigation, like dodging, can reduce the damage. Here are the rules I found by looking at logs (if you’ve discovered more rules, please let me know in the comments):
Shadowy Attacks can be:
Shadowy Attacks cannot be:
- Reduced by cooldowns like Shield Wall
- Reduced by magic absorbsion like Diffuse Magic
The key for tanks is to use their avoidance skills, like Elusive Brew or Savage Defense, right before a Shadowy Attack happens (you can track the cooldown with DBM). This doesn’t guarantee a missed hit, but it increases your chances. For tanks that don’t have avoidance abilities, you’ll just have to hope you avoid the attacks and try to reduce any normal attacks before and after the shadowy attack.
There are three severers for you to kill once you’re banished. Luckily, your raid can see the two white ones and should help you out with them.
For non-monk tanks, kill your red Severer first while you still have high vengeance. You should be able to burn it quickly, then move to the remaining Severers. For monk tanks, you can save your Touch of Death for the red Severer, so you should work on white Severers first, then go back to the red one when your vengeance decays. Your damage dealers will absolutely need to help you with the severers they can see, and ideally they should time their first totem banishment to coincide with your own.
You will spend a decent amount of time just dpsing the boss during this fight. Since the 6 minute enrage is often difficult to reach, you are responsible for pushing as much damage out as possible, even though you’re a tank. One secret is to taunt the boss even when he’s immune. This will give you a free 30k vengeance and not change Gara’jal’s target.
Don’t forget to use things like dps cooldowns and potions when you are tanking to help meet the enrage timer.
If you happen to die in the spirit realm (or at any other time, really), and are battle rezzed, don’t forget to taunt the boss to increase your threat up to second place. When the current tank is banished the boss will head toward the person with the second highest threat, and if you don’t taunt before that, he’ll focus on a damage dealer.
Diffuse Magic is useless during this fight (unless you’re lucky enough time use it right when the shadow realm adds cast at you). Dampen Harm doesn’t reduce shadowy attacks, but it reduces everything else so it’s useful in that respect.