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Queen Azshara heroic
#1
Queen Azshara is a four phase encounter with two intermissions.

The fight revolves around a specific mechanic: we need to keep the Ancient Wards energized.  If we don't keep it energized, the we'll start taking raid-wide damage until a Catastrophic Failure occurs, wiping the raid.

So, here's how it works.  There are three Ancient Wards around the edge of the encounter area.  They look like yellow circles.  Their status is shown in a new UI element on the right side of your screen.  Various mechanics will make these three wards lose power.  If one of them completely loses its energy, it will cast Pressure Surge, which does ticking damage to the entire raid until it is granted energy again.  If ALL of the active wards go to zero energy, the raid is instantly killed.

To re-energize a ward, a player needs to stand in it.  But doing so will give the player a stacking debuff (Drained Soul) that will reduce their health by 10% per stack.  This debuff lasts for almost 2 minutes.  The general rule is to never go above six stacks to be safe from incoming damage sources.

The entire raid needs to get involved in soaking these wards, including the tanks (though tanks should not go above 2-3 stacks, especially toward the end of the fight).

The key is to SOAK EARLY, making sure your uptime early in the fight is almost 100%, so they are very energized.  If we are slow to soak early in the fight, then later on we'll be forced to soak them when there's lots of incoming damage and soakers, with their reduced health pools, will die.

PHASE ONE

Start the fight by interacting with a console.  Two minibosses will appear: Cyranus and Aethanel.  A tank should grab each one.

Cyranus and Aethanel

When Painful Memories is cast, they should be moved to either side of a pillar to break LoS.  When they cast Longing, they need to be within LoS of each other (stack them).  They must die within a short time of each other.  If we don't position them right or kill them almost simultaneously, they get buffed (Torment).

Aethanil will hit the tank with frost damage (Cold Blast) which will stun and do damage to the tank at three stacks.  She also casts Chain Lightning, which we should interrupt.  She'll also spawn orbs around the room which we have to dodge.

Cyranus will hit the tank with Serrated Edge, which can be dodged or parried.

Wowhead recommends that we DON'T do a tank swap, but just manage the damage.

The mini-bosses will also cast purple patches (Cursed Heart) under themselves.  These last for the entire fight.  We want these patches to be as close together as possible and away from any of the pillars or wards.  Wowhead recommends placing them in the space to either side of the right pillar, about 15 yards away.

Cyranus will also cast Charged Spear, which targets a random player.  At the end of a long cast he throws the spear at the player, which damages all players in its path and continues through and beyond the targeted player, and deals damage to the target and then a little raid-wide damage.  The important thing, though, is if the spear hits a pillar or a console, it will deal FAR MORE damage, which may cause a wipe.  So, if you are targeted, make sure to stand so that the spear won't hit a pillar or console.

Azshara 

Azshara will be present during this phase, but we can't attack her.  She will spawn Arcane Orbs around the center of the room (stationary purple orbs) which explode after 10 seconds for raid-wide damage. A ranged or healers should stand in each one to reduce damage (they'll receive ticking damage).

She'll also Beckon players, making them move uncontrollably toward the middle of the room for 8 seconds.  If they reach the middle, they'll be bubbled and take damage until the bubble is destroyed.  If you are targeted, you need to RUN AWAY from the middle of the room so you don't reach it.  If you do get bubbled, DPS needs to break you out quickly.

Azshara will also attack the wards (Drain Ancient Ward) which makes them lose energy.  As explained, players need to take turns soaking these to give them more energy, going no higher than 6 stacks per player.  Ideally, ranged and healers will be able to do this during Phase One.

Overzealous Hulks

These adds will spawn in the middle of the room.  The hulk will then move to a ward which they'll hit with Ground Pound, doing raid-wide damage and draining energy from the ward.  The hulk can only be CC'd once, so use a long-duration stun when they begin to move.  Try to kill them before they even reach the ward.  If they reach it, kill them as fast as possible.


SUMMARY OF PHASE ONE

* Players stand in each ward to keep its energy high.  Take turns doing this, and go no higher than 6 stacks.

* DPS the mini-bosses so that they die at the same time.  Painful memories:  Use a pillar to break LoS between them; Longing: stack them.

Aim the Charged Spear away from any pillars or the console; interrupt Chain Lightning.

* Dodge the MOVING orbs, soak the STATIONARY orbs which spawn around the middle of the room.

* CC the Overzealous Hulk with a long CC and kill it fast, ideally before it reaches a ward.

* If you are targeted with Beckon, run away from the center of the room to avoid being bubbled.  If a player does get bubbled, DPS break them out.


FIRST INTERMISSION (starts when both mini-bosses die)

Keep soaking the Arcane Orbs (purple orbs around center of room.)  Aszhara will issue two DECREES at a time, which need to be obeyed.  If a player fails to apply a decree they'll get a stacking DoT (Sanction) which lasts through the intermission.  The decrees are:

1. Suffer! = Soak an Arcane Orb
2. Obey! = Don't soak an Arcane Orb
3. Stay! = Stand still
4. March! = Keep moving
5. Stand Together! = Stand near other players
6. Stand Alone! = Spread out

The most challenging combos involve soaking the orbs, as some people will need to soak them alone while others will need to soak them with a group.


PHASE TWO

Azshara will spawn at the start of this phase.  Drag her to the left edge of the room, ideally closer to the console than to the pillar.

The middle ward (blue ward in the center of the room) will now become active.  This is the Ward of Power.  It GAINS energy via boss and add abilities, and grants all enemies a damage increase.  The more energy it has, the more if buffs enemies.  You can REMOVE this energy by standing within it.

--> Keep the Ward of Power below 25% energy.

Azshara will slowly DRAIN the Ancient Ward she's closest to, or ENERGIZE the Ward of Power (Titanic Machinations).  So, by keeping her close to one Ward

She also does ticking damage to players within her Line of Sight (Arcane Mastery).  This can get pretty high if the Ward of Power has too much energy.

She'll hit the tank with Arcane Jolt, a stacking debuff.  Tanks should swap whenever your stack drops off (around 20-40 stacks).

She'll still cast Beckon, but now it will force players to walk toward the boss.  If they reach her, they'll become mind controlled and will gain a shield.  DPS the shield to free the player.

--> Move away from her if she casts Beckon on you.

She'll debuff two players with Arcane Burst.  This causes players to damage everyone within Line of Sight.  If this hits Azshara, she'll apply MORE Arcane Bursts next time.

--> Move behind the far pillar if you get Arcane Burst.  Healers call for players to move behind it, where they can be dispelled one by one.

When Aszhara reaches full energy, she'll cast Arcane Detonation, which does lethal damage to any player within LoS.

--> Get behind the console (or a pillar) for Arcane Detonation.

Devoted Naga Adds spawn at set times during this phase.  They move toward the Ward of Power.  If they reach it, they'll sacrifice themselves (Final Sacrifice) which will give it a ton of energy.

--> Kill the adds before they reach the middle, using CC to stun or slow them down.

[--> DK strategy: when they spawn, drag the boss onto the Ward of Power.  When the Naga are close enough, do a mass stun, then grip them onto the raid and Nuke them down using focusing iris essences.]

An Azshara's Undomitable add will spawn too and will move toward the empowered ward.  This add cannot be CC'd and has a lot of health.

--> All DPS swap to it to kill it off.


SECOND INTERMISSION (starts when boss reaches 70%)

This intermission works in the same way as the first one, with players needing to soak orbs and obey decrees.  The only difference is that as the intermission ends a myrmidon add will spawn.  It will likely target a healer and melee them, probably one-shotting the healer.  Tanks need to be very fast to pick up the add before it kills a healer (targeting macros help here).  The myrmidon can be gripped but no other CC works.

--> DPS Azshara until the decrees come in; obey the decrees; tanks pick up the myrmidon at the end of the intermission.


PHASE THREE

Azshara is the same as in Phase Two, so we need to continue to deal with the abilities as before.

The main difference is that we will have a Myrmidon and two Tidemistress adds to manage.  One mistress will always spawn on the ward near the console, the other will spawn on either the left or the right.

The raid should position itself so that it is between the two mistresses.

The mistresses will cast Chain Lightning, which we should interrupt, and will debuff players with Static Shock, which causes them to pulse an 8-yard AoE.  

--> Interrupt Chain Lightning; take Static Shock out

The mistresses will also DRAIN the Ancient Wards (Drain Ancient Ward) and EMPOWER the Ward of Power (Energize Ward of Power).  Interrupt these casts!

However, after a while the mistresses will gain a Crystalline Shield, which makes them immune to damage and interrupts.  The ONLY way to break the shield is to hit it with a Charged Spear (cast by the Myrmidon).

--> If you are targeted by the Charged Spear, point it TOWARD a mistress' shield, and AWAY from the console or a pillar.

--> Kill the mistress next to the console first, while interrupting the other mistress as much as possible.  When the console mistress is dead, kill the other one.  It is imperative that all DPS go into the mistresses to get them down fast.  We'll need to do this while ALSO dealing with Arcane Burst, Beckon, Arcane Detonation LoS, and soaking the wards.  This is the hardest phase.


PHASE FOUR (at 40% health)

Make sure the mistresses are dead by this point (though it also seems that killing them triggers this phase, regardless of boss health).

Finish off the myrmidons in this phase.

Then NUKE THE BOSS.

We'll still have Beckon and will still need to soak the Arcane Wards.

The tank debuff is different in this phase (Void Touched):  reduces all healing by 10% per stack.  Swap around every three stacks.


This is a tough phase, so it's best to go into it with NO ward-soak debuffs.

Nether Portal:  At 100% energy, the boss will cast Nether Portal on top of a random ranged player, creating a zone that lasts for the entire fight, which deals ticking damage to anyone who stands in it.  

--> All ranged run to the edge of the platform before Nether Portal, to drop the void zone in the safe place.  Once the void zone drops, run back into melee.

Console empowerment:  The console will be empowered on a timer during this phase, giving it charges.  These charges will all release at once and kill the raid UNLESS a player relates them over time.  Releasing an energy charge will deal raid-wide damage and trigger a random effect, but it won't be enough damage to kill the raid.

--> A single player needs to run to the console to release charges, one by one.  Use your extra action button next to the console.  Rest of the raid stacks together and uses healing cooldowns to survive the release of each charge, while spot-healing the console-user.

-->  Be ready for the random effects, e.g. a nasty DoT to a random player, draining wards of some of their power, or debuffing a random player (causing massive damage increase but also killing the player when it expires).

Not long after the first console, we'll get the first BEAMS.  These start on one side of the room and fire directly to the opposite side, one after the other.  They are very obvious, as they mark the ground with a red highlight before they fire.  Move out of them.

Then we'll get our next console.  Before using it, ranged spread out for the Nether Portal void zone, then move into melee for healing, THEN a player needs to run to the console to bleed off some energy.  We'll also get BECKONS here.

Once the console is dealt with, we'll get more beams, then bait another portal, then stack in melee for the FINAL PUSH.  Nuke the boss down. Boss should die around here or the mechanics will end up killing you.

Note:  can also drag the boss from one ward to another to spread her effect around.

Note:  this Ward of Power can SWAP LOCATIONS with other wards in the room.
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#2
Okay, so we were reliably able to get through Phase One, First Intermission, Phase Two, Second Intermission, and into Phase Three.

A couple notes from those phases:


Re-charging the Ancient Wards.

Over the course of the evening we got better at soaking the wards.  So, for next time: keep an eye on the Ancient Ward UI, and coordinate on Discord, to make sure a player or series of players is soaking the wards as needed.


The stacks add up fast!

When you stand in a ward, you get a stack about every second.  This adds up fast.  Make sure to get out at or below 6 stacks.  Call for someone else to take over if the ward still needs soaking.


Ancient Wards vs. Ward of Power

The Ancient Wards are the three YELLOW wards that we start with, located around the edge of the room.  These Ancient Wards need to be kept HIGH.  If a ward goes to zero it'll do ticking damage to the raid, and if all the wards go to zero they'll wipe the raid.

The Ward of Power is the BLUE ward that becomes active in the middle of the room in Phase Two.  It needs to be kept EMPTY (or at least below 25%), because it buffs enemies in proportion to its energy level.

Trying to think of a way to remember which colors the wards are:
yellow = warm and cozy = keep it full
blue = cold = keep it empty


The Ward of Power swaps places with one Ancient Ward

In Phase two the Ward of Power will swap places with one Ancient Ward (Reversal of Fortune), so we need to be extra aware of where the Ward of Power is.


The Ward of Power and the Ancient Wards ALL swap places

In Phase Three Azshara will cast Greater Reversal of Fortune which will cause the center ward to become an Ancient Ward, and the three peripheral wards to become Wards of Power.  When she casts it again, they reverse again.


Every player gets their OWN decrees

Every player will get their OWN combination of decrees, telling them to soak orbs or not, to stand with other players or alone, or to keep moving or stand still.

The most difficult to coordinate will be standing TOGETHER or ALONE to soak an orb.  Next time we'll designate one side of the room for people who need to soak alone, and the other side for people to soak together.


Handling the adds in Phase Two

Azshara spawns groups of naga adds, and one undomitable add, who make their way to the Ward of Power and sacrifice themselves, giving it a ton of energy.

We need to think strategically about how to handle these adds, particularly the groups of naga who move quickly.  We need CC / slows / stuns / knockbacks coupled with fast AoE to get them down before they reach their destination.


Move Azshara between two Wards

Azshara drains (ancient wards) or empowers (ward of power) whatever ward is closest to her.  She does this FASTER than we can fix them.

--> Therefore, Azshara needs to be moved a bit between two wards so that we can fix the damage she does.


For next time:

Handling the Tidemistresses in Phase Three will be the next challenge:  keeping them interrupted, killing them, and aiming the Charged Spear at their shields.

After that, we have Phase Four (starts at 40% health):  There are two new mechanics in Phase Four:  Nether Portal and Console empowerment.


At 100 Energy the boss will cast Nether Portal on a ranged player, creating a void zone --> before she casts Nether Portal ranged needs to run to the edge of the room to bait the void zone.

Next, then console will be empowered on a timer, giving it stacking charges.  We need to release the charges over time.  Releasing one charge does raid-wide damage and will trigger a random effect (DoT, drain wards, debuff etc.).

--> A single player needs to run to the console to release charges, one by one.  Use the extra action button.  Rest of the raid stacks to survive the release of each charge and its random effect.

Phase Four will therefore have a rhythm to it:  before Nether Portal casts, ranged runs to the edge to bait the void zone --> once it drops ranged runs back into melee for healing --> ONE player runs to the console to release one charge -->  raid handles the random effect.


NOTES

* All adds are the priority over the boss when they are up.
* Interrupts are critical, especially on the tidemistresses in Phase Three
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#3
Notes and Thoughts

Transition to Phase Three

The myrmidon add spawns right at the end of Intermission Two.  It tends to one-shot a healer.  It needs to be picked up very quickly (maybe with a targeting macro?)


In Phase Three...

... the fight shifts focus to the Tidemistress adds.  We need to get the first Tidemistress down quickly, while keeping the other one interrupted, and break their shields with Charged Spear.  How do to this, while still DPSing the boss?  I did some reading and found some suggested strategies:

* Stack Azshara on each Tidemistress for cleave.  This will enable us to DPS Aszhara and the Tidemistresses at the same time.

* Note:  you ONLY gain stacks if you stand in the INNER CIRCLE of a ward.  It is therefore possible for melee to stand on the outer ring of a ward (the one with the notches in it) to DPS the Tidemistress without gaining stacks.

* Target the Scarscale Tidemistress first, as she starts with less energy than the other one, so she will shield later.  Try to kill her before her shield goes up.

* Drag Azshara to the second Tidemistress after the first one is dead.  Don't focus the second Tidemistress -- DPS Azshara directly and just cleave the second Tidemistress when her shield is down.

* Tank the Myrmidon near the raid stack, but not so close that the Myrmidon dies before the second Tidemistress (as we need his Charged Spear to break the shield).

* Aim the Myrmidon's Charged Spear at a Tidemistress' shield.  If no shield is up, aim it off the platform into the ocean.  Aiming should be easier if the Myrmidon is close to the Tidemistress.

* Azshara goes into Phase Four when the second Tidemistress dies OR when she reaches 40% health.  Ideally, we would time this transition such that the second Tidemistress dies right around this 40% health point.


Tips for Phase Four (starts at 40% health)

* Bloodlust at the beginning of Phase Four to finish off the Myrmidon.

* When Azshara nears 100 energy, Ranged run out and STACK at the edge of the platform to bait the Nether Portal void zone.  Then run back in for heals.

* When ranged is back in, ONE PERSON will run to the console to remove its stacks one by one, waiting 3-4 seconds between each click.  The removal of each stack will trigger a nasty random effect (DoTs, etc.).  Use healing cooldowns to survive.

Note: One of the console's random effects is called Essence of Azeroth: this is a big debuff that increases your damage done, but kills you when it expires.  Best way to handle this is to do big DPS, then towards the end of the debuff soak a ward to the max (max = 10 stacks) before you die, as you're going to die anyway.

* Raid stay on the outside of the room to avoid beams, which cut across the room (there's a big visual sign on the floor so they're easy to avoid).

* After beams, everyone help soak the middle ward.

Final push:

* Tanks move boss toward highest energy ward, ranged stay away for beckons, ranged bait void zones to the edge like before, bleed console of its charges a second time (raid uses defensive cooldowns to survive)  Dodge beams, ranged stay out  --> Kill her now, ignore third round of console stacks, just burn.
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#4
So, we made it into Phase Four several times on Tuesday!

BUT the fight didn't go as described: Queen Azshara went into Phase Four after the FIRST Tidemistress went down, at about 55% health.  It is unclear to me whether it was the death of this Tidemistress or some sort of internal timer that triggered Phase Four...  but whatever the cause Phase Four came much sooner than expected.

Phase Four is a crazy burn phase, so we're starting Phase Four with more adds up and more boss health than expected.

I've found a few posts online in which other raids have encountered this early transition.  The raids that have encountered this suggest a "burn Azshara" strategy in which we IGNORE the second Tidemistress and the myrmidons, and just nuke the boss.  Azshara doesn't have a huge amount of health, so as long as we handle the Nether Portal void zones and the console, and we put out high DPS, we should be able to focus her down.

Getting down the second Tidemistress and the myrmidons in Phase Four would be nice, as the second Tidemistress is draining the Ancient Wards and empowering the Ward of Power, and the myrmidons are throwing their spears...  but killing them would take DPS off the boss, prolonging the fight.

So it's a tradeoff:  spend the DPS to get the adds down and thus save more players' lives through less soaking of wards, vs. handling more damaging mechanics but getting the boss down sooner.  It's a choice between longer & less damaging fight vs. shorter & more damaging fight.
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