As usual, this guide is the distilled essence of what is needed for tanks to jump into their first few attempts of bosses in Hellfire Citadel. You won’t find any in-depth strategies here (though you might find them here). Instead, you’re going to get just enough information to wrap your head around the encounter; a trickle of strategy, not a firehose. This guide is ideal for those attempting Normal and Heroic Hellfire Citadel. And, as always, if you have any cool tips or tricks, please mention them in the comments!
Halls of Blood
Bastion of Shadows
The Black Gate
- One tank will need to handle the miniboss Siegemaster Mar’tak until she runs away.
- The other tank may need to move adds away from her because she will buff their damage.
- Tank the orc adds that spawn out of large metal capsules on impact. The location of the impact will be marked with an orange ground effect, which you should stand near but not directly under.
- The giant orc adds apply a stacking debuff that increases your physical damage taken. Save active mitigation for when it stacks get high, or tank swap if they stay up for a long time.
- Keep the warlock adds away from the siege weapons.
- Interrupt the goblin adds’ Conducted Shock Pulse and, if possible, the warlocks’ Felfire Volley.
- Don’t worry about tanking the Siege Weapons.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Siegemaster Mar’tak‘s Shockwave (cone attack) and Howling Axe (travels between marked targets), which are cast on random targets.
- Any orange or fiery ground effects.
- Slam, the tank debuff applied by Berserkers, has a short duration 12 seconds, but it can stack to very high amounts before this moderate priority add is killed. It’s also likely that more than one will be alive at a time. If possible, one tank should have all the berserkers and the other should taunt them back when their own debuff runs out.
- Place Ox Statue near a spawning capsule or on top of the raid to help pick up adds.
- When the Iron Reaver marks you for Artillery, move away from other raid members before the Reaver finishes locking on. This attack deals damage to the raid based on how close they are to the effected tank. This is the tank swap.
- Don’t run away from the boss as soon as you’re targeted by Artillery. You have to wait until the other tank is back and able to taunt swap before sprinting away. The timing here can be tight.
- Use some sort of cooldown to reduce the damage from Artillery, especially if you’re at low health. You’ll probably be out of range of healers and have to be self-sufficient with little Resolve for a while.
- When the boss is in the air:
- Don’t worry about getting targeted for Artillery, that will be cast on damage dealers for this phase.
- Kill bombs.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Ground phase:
- Barrage, a cone attack in a random direction.
- Blitz, a charge in a random direction and then back to tanks.
- Air phase:
- Black ground effects
- Big deadly circle at the end of the phase
- Use Transcendence and Tiger’s Lust to quickly move away for Artillery.
- There are three large pools around the corners of the room: Foul (green), Shadowy (purple), and Fiery (orange). The boss will gain different abilities based on the pool, and whichever pool he leaps into is controlled by which pool he is closest to.
- Each pool changes Kormrok’s special tank attack, and each of those abilities inflict Fel Touch, which increases magic damage taken and you shouldn’t tank the boss while this debuff is active.
- Fiery Pool tank swap: Explosive Burst – Affected tank will be stunned and become a bomb. The other tank must taunt and move the boss 40 yards away from the affected tank before the bomb explodes in 10 seconds.
- Foul Pool tank swap: Foul Crush – A hand will crush the affected target until it is killed. The other tank must taunt once the hand spawns.
- Shadowy Pool tank swap: Swat – Knocks the current tank back, dealing less damage the further you go. Before this ability is cast, position the boss so that you won’t be swatted back into a pool or a nearby wall.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Spread out during Pound.
- Avoid the purple slime waves.
- Use cooldowns before each of the pool-flavored tank abilities lands.
- Tank swap: Shadow of Death will teleport the affected tank to Gorefiend’s stomach. (This doesn’t actually kill you. Just pretend.)
- When in the stomach, tank the Enraged Spirit (a purple, transparent orc).
- Avoid the Enraged Spirit’s Fel Fury by moving away during the cast.
- Interrupt Bellowing Shout
- At 70% life, the Enraged Spirit will escape from the stomach and becomes a powerful Gorebound Spirit that must be tanked. When this happens, exit the stomach by running to the structure in the middle.
- Tank the Gorbound Spirit outside the stomach.
- Tank swap at 10 stacks of Fel Flames, or when your stacks drop off.
- Feast of Souls: Intercept the small purple sparkle adds before they reach the boss. Intercept them away from the raid so no one else gets hit by splash damage.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Avoid purple swirlies.
- Use avoidance mitigation to reduce the application rate of Fel Flames from the Gorebound Spirit.
- Spec into controlled movement abilities to help you intercept the sparkles in the Feast of Souls phase.
- Use Xuen during Feast of Souls, since he can dps the boss while you intercept spirits and damage is increased during that phase anyway.
- Make use of Transcendence and other movement abilities to safely navigate the purple pools while soaking during Feast of Souls.
Hellfire High Council
- One tank on Dia Darkwhisper, another on Gurtogg Bloodboil.
- Dia Darkwhipser:
- Keep her away from her allies, else they will gain the effects of Void Haze, which makes they shadowy and absorb all damage.
- When she uses Nightmare Visage, use defensive abilities to reduce the damage you take. This ability deals very fast physical damage, so avoidance is ideal.
- Besides Nightmare Visage, she deals entirely magic damage.
- Gurtogg Bloodboil:
- Acidic Wound, a stacking nature DoT, will build until he stops attacking the tank during Fel Rage.
- Use mitigation abilities to reduce damage when at high stacks of Acidic Wound.
- If targeted by Reap, run to the edge of the room before it expires. It will leave a damage-dealing pool that you want to be out of the way.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Fel Blade – green arrow off Blademaster Jubei’thos indicates the direction it will go in.
- Purple Reap pools
- While Dia Darkwhisper spends most of her time casting entirely magical damage, it’s rarely threatening. Instead, her physical attack Nightmare Visage is what you should prepare active mitigation for.
- If tanking Dia, save Elusive Brew for her special physical attack, Nightmare Visage.
- Kilrogg Deadeye and Hulking Terrors (big spikey orcs that spawn in the giant rune circle) need to be tanked. Salivating Bloodthirsters don’t need to be tanked.
- Face the boss toward the raid so that the runes he spawns are accessible. (You don’t need to worry about those runes other than making them accessible.)
- Use active mitigation defensive abilities to counter Shred, which has a cast time, or else suffer from a debuff that increases damage taken.
- Drag Kilrogg away from Blood Globules. They will heal him and deal raid damage.
- Hulking Terrors
- Face away from the raid to limit effect of his cone attack, Savage Strikes. It is a flurry of physical damage, so use active mitigation, especially avoidance, to reduce it.
- Hulking Terrors deal damage and Fel Corruption in a 10 yard radius when they die, so drag them away from allies when close to death.
- Fel Corruption is displayed in an alternate power bar and deals ticking damage that increases with more corruption. Once it reaches 100, you become permanently mind controlled. Fel Corruption decays over time.
- Tank swap: Alternate tanking Hulking Terrors to avoid capping out on Fel Corruption. You can also watch each other’s Fel Corruption and simply swap when the add tank has too much, since it will often be at manageable levels even without alternating.
- Quickly reduce your Fel Corruption by standing in the white-gold circle when it appears.
- Interrupt Hulking Terror’s Rending Howl
- The AoE spiny spell, Death Throes, deals damage based on how close you are to the boss and fires missiles / puddles at random targets at range. Whether you’re tanking the boss or tanking a Hulking Terror, use a cooldown for this phase. Even if you’re not moving much, your healers are.
- Your only active mitigation that works to block Shred is Elusive Brew. Guard will not help you. Talent into Chi Brew for on-demand Elusive Brew, and be extra careful to have Elusive Brew available and on cooldown before the timer for Shred is up.
- Eye of Anzu is an “item” passed around the raid to prevent the effects of some raid abilities. This can be thrown to other people using the Extra Action Button. Tanks will actually have to participate.
- Phase 1 – Ground
- Tank the boss in the middle.
- Phantasmal Winds pushes you toward the edge of the platform, and is dispelled by catching the Eye of Anzu. Throw the Eye to someone else who needs it when you get it during this phase.
- Tank swap: Fel Chakram will select the targeted tank and two other players. Once selected, quickly run away from the raid and at least 20 yards away from the two other targets before the cast completes.
- Phase 2 – Air
- Pick up adds.
- 1st Air Phase: If you get a bomb, typically a healer should handle dispelling that for you.
- 2nd Air Phase: A new robot add, the Shadowfel Warden will channel a spell, Fel Conduit, that can only be interrupted by someone holding the Eye of Anzu. If you’re given this job, hold the orb until you need to interrupt, then toss it back to a designated healer.
- 3rd Air Phase: In addition to the robot, a Fel Raven will spawn. The Fel Raven will debuff the tank with Phantasmal Corruption. To prevent this ability, the tank should be holding the Eye of Anzu when it is cast. Tanks likely will be tasked with holding the Eye of Anzu to prevent Phantasmal Corruption as well as interrupting the robot’s Fel Conduit, since they happen at the same time. This tank should throw the Eye to a healer afterwards.
- If for some reason you aren’t holding the Eye of Anzu during Phantasmal Corruption, use a cooldown and stand away from the rest of the raid to reduce damage.
- Use Transcendence to quickly move into position when afflicted with Fel Chakram.
Socrethar the Eternal
- Phase 1 – Construct
- Each Reverberating Blow needs to be soaked by 1 tank and at least 2 non-tanks.
- Reverberating Blow applies the debuff Shattered Defenses, swap tanks at 3 stacks.
- Reverberating Blow will deal more damage at higher stacks of the debuff, so use cooldowns.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Phase 2 – Adds
- One tank controls the construct and the other will pick up Socrethar and the Sargerei Dominator (from the red portal).
- If you’re not controlling the Construct, your only job is to tank Socrethar and Dominators. You can help pull the casters that spawn from the purple portal closer, but they can’t be tanked in a traditional sense.
- Construct responsibilities:
- Cast Reverberating Blow on the Dominator and Socrethar.
- To stun and snare the fixating ghosts, use Felblaze Charge from the raid’s position to the blue portal.
- To dps the Dominator and Shadowcallers, cast Volatile Fel Orb.
- Avoid Soul Dispersion by staying away from Haunting Souls.
- Save dps cooldowns for the Sargerei Dominator.
- This fight has 3 distinct phases with different abilities, and two abilities of concern shared between all phases:
- Tank swap: Seal of Decay – Reduces healing and shields on the current target. Swap at 2-3 stacks.
- Help soak the purple circle, Edict of Condemnation.
- Phase 1 – Oppression
- Don’t move more than you have to, since you will take damage the more you move during this phase. Use cooldowns when you have to move large distances.
- Avoid the cone effect that appears as an arrow pointing from the boss and targets a random player, Annihilating Strike.
- Infernal Tempest – Causes you to drop pools under your feet that will create a little fire tornado. Move as little as possible to avoid the pools you drop.
- Tank the Ancient Enforcer when it spawns and face it away from the raid. Avoid its casted ability, Roaring Flames, by strafing a small amount during the cast, and any little tornados it spawns.
- Phase 2 – Contempt
- You will not be able to healed above 80% health, due to Aura of Contempt. The longer the phase goes on, the less health you’ll be able to heal up. Save strong cooldowns for when your health is locked at a low amount.
- Boss deals magic damage to the tank via Tainted Shadows. This also splashes damage, so stay 5 yards away from other players that don’t also have the debuff.
- Tank the Ancient Harbringer when it spawns. Aid in the interrupt rotation of its healing skill, Harbringer’s Mending.
- Phase 3 – Malice
- As the phase progresses, you’ll gradually take and deal more damage, due to Aura of Malice. Rotate lesser cooldows and active mitigation as the phase progresses, and save large cooldowns for when this aura gets high.
- The boss will often cast Bulwark of the Tyrant on the current tank, which deals magic damage and leaves a purple Consecration effect on the ground. You’ll need to place these effects efficiently since they won’t disappear, ideally on the edges of the room.
- She will occasionally knock the whole raid back. Position yourself so you’re not knocked back into something bad.
- Tank the Ancient Sovereign when it spawns. It will reduce damage the boss takes and thus should die quickly, but doesn’t do anything else you need to worry about.
- Tanks can taunt at the last second of Annihilating Strike’s cast to force the cone effect to face themselves instead of the raid.
- Use Transcendence to minimize movement in phase 1 and recover from the knockback in phase 3.
Fel Lord Zakuun
- Fel Lord Zakuun has three phases: one when he wields his axe, another when he discards his axe, and a final one that combines the skills from prior phases.
- Phase 1: Armed
- Tank the boss so that melee can intercept the purple projectiles before they reach any Fel Crystals.
- Tank swap: Soul Cleave banishes you to the Shadow Realm.
- Before entering the Shadow Realm, take note of the big Fel Crystals and run away from those locations once you enter the Shadow Realm.
- While in the Shadow Realm, step out of the way of Wake of Destruction projectiles and jump over Ring of Destruction.
- You’ll exit the Shadow Realm when your debuff runs out.
- Phase 2: Disarmed
- Both tanks need to stand together to split the boss’s damage.
- This is a heavy damage phase that lasts for around 30 seconds, so you should chain your active mitigation and cooldowns.
- Phase 3: Enrage
- This is a combination of both phases, except that tanks will no longer be banished to the shadow realm. Mostly the tanks will have to keep standing on top of each other.
- This fight has two basic phases, Fel and Void, that first occur sequentially and later are combined. Mini bosses spawn in the first two phases that will need to be tanked.
- Phase 1 (Fel) and 2 (Void) – The mechanics of these phases are similar, with different spell schools and adds come out of different portals.
- Tank near the active portal.
- The boss will attack his target with Fel Strike in phase 1 and Void Strike in phase 2, which deal magic damage.
- Each phase has a mini boss that needs to be tanked once they spawn. The phase 1 mini boss attacks with Felblaze Flurry, and the phase 2 mini boss attacks with Withering Gaze. These spells deal increasing damage each time they hit.
- One tank can hold the boss and the other can hold the add. Phase ends when the add dies.
- Phase 3: Shadowfel Amalgamation
- One tank must taunt for every Void Strike and the other must taunt for every Fel Strike to avoid Shadowfel Annihilation. The boss turns green or purple to indicate his phasing.
- Phase 4: Tearing Apart
- Same as phase 3, except there are no more small adds and the boss deals increasing raid damage.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Avoid green and purple patches on the ground.
- Avoid green orbs unless you’re assigned to intercept them.
- Avoid purple swirls.
- Stun and interrupt Wild Pyromancers and Voidfiends.
- This is a 4 phase fight, starting with an add phase. As the fight progresses, there will be fewer adds but Mannoroth will have more powerful abilities.
- Phase 1: Add phase
- Only Doom Lords need to be tanked. They spawn when a debuff applied to a raid member expires.
- Doom Lords apply Doom Strike, a debuff that only deals damage based on stacks when it expires. Use a cooldown when the debuff expires. Tank swap around 6-8 stacks, unless you have a very large cooldown (e.g. Zen Meditation) to reduce the damage from a large stack when it expires.
- Phase 2: Resurrection
- Glaive Combo is the series of events that force a tank swap, occurs every 30 seconds, and consists of:
- Glaive Thrust – Use active mitigation to prevent the application of debuffs during this ability.
- Massive Blast – Knocks back the tank. Position yourself so you don’t get knocked off the platform.
- Tank swap. A second Glaive Thrust. The other tank should taunt before this ability.
- These abilities are all 1.5 seconds apart.
- Phase 3 – Same phase 2, plus a spell, Shadowforce, that repels random targets away from Mannoroth.
- Phase 4: EMPOWERMENT!
- The abilities and your reactions to them remain the same as before, but they now deal more damage and have additional effects.
- Empowered Glaive Thrust now cleaves, effecting everyone in a cone in front of the boss. The off tank (and everyone except the current tank) should not be in front.
- Empowered Massive Blast knocks the target back even further. Position Mannoroth at the edge of the platform, facing the middle, so that he won’t knock you off the platform.
- Empowered Shadowforce will push back everyone. Mannoroth does not use Glaive Combo during Shadowforce.
- Avoid the purple ground effects, Gazing Shadows.
- Environmental Hazards
- Infernals and their pulsing AoE.
- Felseeker concentric, consecutive green telegraphs that you should be out of before they land.
- Avoid the dark black circles that telegraph Fel Hellstorm.
- For the second and third phase, tank near the green spire since that spire will stay around the longest and it provides a place to stand against for the knockback.
- Talent into Chi Brew so that you have active mitigation available to counter Glaive Thrust.
- Three phase fight.
- Phase 1: The Defiler
- Death Brand inflicts massive initial damage and periodic damage until Hellfire Deathcallers are killed. Use a cooldown before the initial damage lands.
- Tank the Hellfire Deathcaller, which will hopefully die before you get too many stacks of Shadow Blast.
- Pick up Yrel’s Light of the Naaru orbs to prevent the shadow damage. They are golden orbs that should be popped when a significant number of players are also nearby.
- Phase 2: Hand of the Legion
- Archimonde will continue to use Death Brand and summon Deathcallers like in phase 1.
- Tank the Felbourne Overfiends. At increments of 25% health, it will cast Flames of Argus, which needs to be interrupted.
- Phase 3: Twisting Nether
- Archimonde will no longer use Death Brand or summon Overfiends.
- Tank swap: Nether Banish sends current tank to the Twisting Nether along with any other players within 10 yards.
- In the Twisting Nether:
- Tank the Shadowed Netherstalker and interrupt Touch of Shadows
- Avoid Nether Storm.
- Interact with the Collapsing Void to return to Draenor after the Netherstalker dies.
- In Draenor:
- Cannot tank the adds that spawn from the Nether Tear.
- Avoid green swirls.
- You can tank the Infernal Doombringers that spawn from meteors, but not all together since they will heal each other. They should be crowd controlled and burst down quickly.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Phases 1 and 2 deals significant magic damage to tanks. Choose talents / glyphs to help mitigate it.