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Varimathras Nutshell Guide
Varimathras is a single-phase encounter, BUT the room cycles between several elemental states that have various effects on the raid.  There are very few mechanics on this fight, BUT he prevents all healing, so mistakes can cost us a great deal.

Varimathras' Cell

We'll engage Varimathras in his prison cell, which is the arena for the fight.  The cell cycles through several elemental states, all of which deal constant magic damage to the raid.

First Elemental Phase:  Torment of Flames.  During this phase we will take ticking fire damage.

Second Elemental Phase: Torment of Shadows  We'll take ticking shadow damage every second.  This state persists until the end. 

Note:  on Heroic, there are two more elemental phases, called Frost and Fel, which are placed between the Flames and Shadows phases.

Varimathras' Abilities

Misery:  Prevents all healing taken by the player for 7 seconds after they suffer shadow damage, AND increases all physical damage received by 200%.

Alone in the Darkness:  Any time a raid member gets further than 8 yards of another player, Varimathras strikes them with Alone in the Darkness, which does moderate shadow damage.

Shadow Strike:  anti-tank attack.  Hits the active target and anyone else within a 15 yard cone.

Dark Fissure:  Targets ranged and healers, spawning 3 rifts under random players.  Does moderate damage and then explodes, damaging anyone still in the rift.

Marked Prey:  targets a random player, charging toward them after a 5-second delay and dealing moderate damage.  Market Prey strikes the first target it comes into contact with, and knocks back whomever is hit.



* Tanks move the boss out of the center and tank him toward the back of the room.  This gives healers and ranged more space.  Tanks stay together even on the pull.

* The inactive tank should stand to the side of the boss, to avoid the cone attack, but within 8 yards of the active tank to avoid triggering Alone in the Darkness.

* Tanks should taunt after every Shadow Strike, and swap positions.

* Players must remain within 8 yards of each other, even at the moment of the pull.  Ranged should form two stacks, one at either side of the room.  These stacks should move together.   One person in each group will get a raid marker and will direct the movement of the group.  If a fissure spawns, the group will move together to get out of it.

* A designated melee player should soak every Marked Prey (basically, this means stand in the line and intercept the attack).  Rogues are good as they can use Feint and Elusiveness to mitigate a lot of the damage.

* One ranged group should form up in a loose line behind the soaker to ensure that the melee soaker who is knocked back by Marked Prey is never more than 8 yards from other raid members.

* Healers top players off quickly when their Misery debuffs expire, as it's likely that they'll be getting Misery again shortly.

We'll use Bloodlust on the pull.
Heroic Difficulty

There are several mechanical changes to the fight on heroic.

1.  The nature of the ticking damage from Torments of Shivarra will change every 2 minutes:

* From minutes 0 - 2:  This will be the standard Torment of Flames.

* From minutes 2 - 4:  This will be Torment of Frost.  This does damage and a slow.  Because of this we need to move as SOON as the Dark Fissures spawn.

* From minutes 4 - 6:  Torment of Fel:  Low ticking damage every 5 seconds that increases by 50% every tick.  The damage ramps up FAST and by the end of this 2-minute phase it will be severe.  Healers should use cooldowns during the later part of this period.

* At the 6 minute mark:  Hard enrage in the form of Torment of Shadows, which coats the raid in Misery, causing a wipe.

2. Shadow Strike will now do a CLEAVE in front of Varimathras, instead of just a single hit on the tank.  Therefore only one tank can be in front of the boss, but BOTH tanks need to be within 8 yards of each other to prevent Alone in the Darkness from triggering.

==> Wowhead suggests having the main tank as close to the center of the boss' hit box as possible without flipping him toward the raid, while the other tank stands as close as possible to the center of the hit box on the opposite side of the boss, so he doesn't get hit by the cleave.  After Shadow Strike is cast, the off-tank taunts and the tanks switch positions, while always standing within 8 yards of each other.

3.  Necrotic Embrace:  new mechanic.  This is a debuff placed on a random non-tank player.  The debuff lasts 6 seconds. When it expires the player will take a burst of shadow damage AND the debuff will attempt to JUMP to EVERYONE within 10 yards.  If not dealt with it will spread rapidly, covering the raid with the debuff then Misery, which will cause a wipe.

==> The player with the debuff needs to move 10+ yards away from the group, let the debuff expire, then return to the group.  This player needs to be topped up before leaving as they'll be hit by Alone in the Darkness as well as the Necrotic Embrace damage (as well as ticking damage from Torments of Shivarr)a.  As both of these do Shadow damage, healers won't be able to heal them for 7 seconds afterwards due to Misery.  During Torment of Frost (which does a slow) players will need to leave the group earlier than usual so they can get away before the debuff expires.
Here's what Heroic Varimathras will look like:

The raid will stand in a line on one arm of the "V" arrangement, with the boss at the point of the V.  When the boss casts Dark Fissures, we'll move together to the other arm of the V.  Just as in Normal mode, we'll spend the entire fight moving back and forth between the two arms of the V.  No big changes there.

Also as in Normal, the boss will periodically cast "Marked Prey."  We will set up a rotation so that rogues will take turns standing at the head of the line to soak Marked Prey.  As in Normal, the rogue will get punted along the line and will run back to melee range.

Periodically the boss will cast Necrotic Embrace on a player, which is the a new Heroic mechanic.  It's a jumping debuff. That player needs to get 10+ yards away from the raid and let the debuff expire to avoid infecting the raid.  Healers will will need to top the player up before they leave the line.  

Between the 2 and 4 minute mark, we will be slowed, but otherwise everything stays the same.  The raid just needs to move to the other side of the V quickly, and the players who get Necrotic Embrace need to move out quickly too.

Between the 4 and 6 minute mark the raid will be hit with rapidly-escalating raid-wide damage.  Healers will need to save cooldowns for the latter part of this phase.

At the 6 minute mark we hit a hard enrage and the fight is over.


Tanks have new positioning issues to deal with on heroic.

The boss' Shadow Strike is now a cleave, which means that only one tank can be in front of the boss at a time.  HOWEVER, both tanks need to be within 8 yards of each other to prevent Alone in the Darkness from triggering.

Tank Positioning Solution 1:  Apparently, Shadow Strike's frontal cone is rather narrow, so the tanks can position themselves so that they stand side by side, just under 8 yards apart, both facing the boss.  The tanks must stand far enough apart that the off-tank doesn't get hit with the cone attack, but still close enough to be within 8 yards of each other.  It may take some tinkering to find out exactly where to stand, but once these positions are determined the tanks can do the fight without moving at all.

With this strategy the raid will have an "X" shape, with the boss in the middle, and the DPS and healers alternating between the two arms of the X, while a tank stands on each leg of the X and doesn't move.


I favor trying Solution 1, which seems straightforward, but for completeness' sake, here is the more formal positioning solution proposed by Wowhead.

Tank Positioning Solution 2 (Wowhead):  Wowhead suggests that the tanks stand face-to-face with one just in front and the other just behind the center of the boss' hit box.  That way the off-tank doesn't get hit by the cleave, but is still within 8 yards of the active tank.  After Shadow Strike, the off-tank taunts the boss and the tanks switch positions.

The Strategy 2 solution is complicated by the boss' other mechanics, Dark Fissure and Marked Prey.

Dark Fissure spawns under players.  After it spawns the line of players moves from one side of the V to the other.  BUT if melee is very close to the off-tank, then Dark Fissure void zones may spawn under the off-tank.

==> If that happens the off-tank will need to sidestep out of the void zone, while still remaining within 8 yards of the active tank.

Marked Prey targets a random raid member.  A big arrow appears on the ground when this happens, pointing down the current line of players.  When Marked Prey goes off, the boss will charge the targeted member, but will collide with with the first player he encounters, doing a knock-back.  The player that intercepts the boss in this way SHOULD be a rogue, and we will have a rotation in place for soaking these attacks.  However, if the off-tank is standing very close to the melee line it is possible that the boss may hit the off-tank first, knocking him back (and thus out of 8-yard range to the active tank) and likely dooming the active tank due to Alone in the Darkness.

==> When Marked Prey spawns, the current off-tank should sidestep away from the melee to make sure he isn't hit by the charge first.  So, sidestep AWAY from the arrow, while still remaining within 8 yards of the active tank.

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