Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Bear's Guide to T4W: Conclave of Wind

Conclave of Wind is the first of the two encounters in the Throne of the Four Winds. It's a pretty unique fight in that your raid group is split up into very distinct groups and personal accountability is extremely high.

There are three separate bosses to this encounter, resting on three platforms connected by air bridges. Stepping on an air bridge whisks you across to the next platform.

Unlike most of the multi-boss fights in Cata, they do not share a health pool. Each boss has their own. When one "dies," it begins to channel a 60-second, uninterruptable regeneration spell, after which time its health pool returns to full. The only way to end the channel is to end the encounter by killing all three bosses. So from the time the first one "dies," you have 60 seconds to finish off the other two.

If any of the platforms is empty while the boss on it is still alive, that boss will channel a spell that silences your entire raid and deals significant continuous damage.

Each boss has an energy bar that goes to 90. They all fill at the same rate. When their energy bars hit 90 (this takes about a minute), they go into a "discharge" phase. During this phase each one will port to the middle of their platform and channel a particularly powerful spell. Additionally, the air bridges disappear for the duration of this phase (15 seconds) so whichever platform you're on when it starts, you're stuck there.

As a tank, you're really only concerned with two of the three bosses: Anshal (West platform) and Nezir (North platform). Rohash (East platform) is very melee unfriendly. He's range-tanked by DPS.

This fight requires two tanks. One will start on Anshal and the other on Nezir. Figure out which tank will be starting on each boss. There will be tank swapping, so you will eventually be tanking each of them. Once you know where you're headed and you're all buffed up, jump across the bridges to the appropriate platform. The bosses don't pull until one of them is actually attacked, so you have some freedom while getting into position.

Tanking Anshal
The Anshal platform is generally going to consist of 3 DPS, a healer, and a tank.

Anshal's main ability is Soothing Breeze. It drops a healing circle directly beneath him that works much like the one the Young Storm Dragons in VP drop. Any enemy inside the circle is going to get a lot of healing. Unlike the circles the Dragons drop, however, any player standing inside the circle will be silenced and pacified (and not healed).

You should be keeping an eye on Anshal's cast bar and running the moment he starts casting this to kite him away. His hit box is a good bit larger than his model, which makes this a difficult task in two ways. 1) You have to move a lot further to actually get him to follow you. 2) It can look like he's out of the circle when he really isn't. Keep an eye on his health bar. If it keeps going up, move him further.

Ideally, you should be tanking and kiting Anshal close to the edges of his platform. If he drops a Soothing Breeze directly in the middle it's very tough to get him out of it.

The other ability Anshal casts is Nuture. He'll do this once per normal phase. Nuture summons a group (5 or 6) of Lasher/Flayer adds called Ravenous Creepers. They'll all spawn near Anshal, but not in any kind of convenient cluster. The Creepers don't hit all that hard, but they do pulse Toxic Spores every 5 seconds.

Depending on your group, there's two ways these adds can be handled. If you have good slow/root CC (Frost Mages and DKs, Hunters, Shamans) you can have your DPS take care of them while you keep focusing solely on Anshal. If not, you'll want to tank them yourself while they're burned down.

The easiest way to pick them up is to stand near your healer, as that's the first place they're going to run. Once you've collected them, your healer needs to get away to avoid the stacking DoT.

I actually recommend the second method for Bear tanks. Our AoE DPS (at least right now in 4.1) is through the roof. With Swipe and Thrash at our disposal, we can really help drop these guys fast. Popping Berserk here is also really nice for those free, rapid, multi-target Mangles.

And Barkskin. Don't forget that.

Also note that Anshal is going to drop a Soothing Breeze shortly after summoning the adds. So you'll need to move him and them out of it quickly.

As Anshal approaches 70 energy, you need to start making your way to the bridge that leads to Nezir's platform. Do everything you can to make sure all his adds are dead by this point. When he gets to 80 energy, you (and everyone else on your platform) should be jumping across. This is where the tank swap occurs. The Nezir tank (and healer) will be jumping onto Anshal's platform at the same time.

Anshal "Discharge" Transition
Upon landing from Nezir's platform, you need to target Anshal and Growl immediately. Depending on the timing of the tank swap, there may still be a few active seconds where Anshal will be taking swings and you want to make sure they're at you, not your healer. Also, if the last group left any adds, you'll need to pick them up.

Once Anshal's energy actually hits 90, he's going to port to the center of his platform and channel Zephyr. It's going to heal him for a significant amount and give him a good damage buff that will last 15 seconds after he's done channeling. Any adds left alive from the previous phase will be healed to full and will get the same damage buff.

When Anshal stops channeling Zephyr, Growl again for good measure and toss an F3 for additional threat.

You'll want wait for Anshal at the edge of his platform near the bridge to Nezir. When the DPS return, they'll have less distance to cover before they can get back to work.

At this point you'll be tanking Anshal until the next tank swap. (Waiting for your Wind Chill debuff to drop off.)

Tanking Nezir.
During the normal phases the Nezir platform is going to have a tank and healer. All the DPS will be working on the other two bosses.

For the most part, Nezir is going to be tanked in the center of his platform. He doesn't need to move much.

Nezir has two basic abilities that you'll be dealing with. The first is Ice Patch. As the name suggests, this drops an ice patch on the ground that does continuous (stacking) damage to anyone standing in it and also slows movement speed. He always drops these directly under someone on his platform. If it's you, just strafe out of the quickly.

His other ability is Permafrost, a frontal-cone AoE attack. As the tank, you can't avoid this. He turns to face you as he casts. You do want to make sure you're facing him so that you're the only one getting hit, though.

Anyone on Nezir's platform during this phase will also be hit by Wind Chill. This will go off several times during the normal phase and is completely unavoidable. It just has to be healed through.

There's not much else to this phase. It's just keeping him occupied.

As Nezir approaches 70 energy, you need to start making your way to the bridge that leads to Anshal's platform. Be careful not to wait right at the base, though. You don't want him to drop an Ice Patch where everyone coming from Anshal's platform is going to land. (This goes for your healer as well.) When he gets to 80 energy, you (and your healer) should be jumping across. This is where the tank swap occurs. The Anshal tank (and group) will be jumping onto Nezir's platform at the same time.

The transition from Nezir's platform to Anshal's really sucks. Odds are that Nezir is going to cast Permafrost just as you (and your healer) are jumping across. The game tends to not realize you've gone out of range until you land on the other side and so you (and your healer) will be taking the damage all the way across the bridge without your healer being able to cast anything but insta-cast spells. Being at full health before you cross is nice.

Nezir "Discharge" Transition
Upon landing from Anshal's platform, you need to target Nezir and Growl immediately. Depending on the timing of the tank swap, there may still be a few active seconds where Nezir will be taking swings and you want to make sure they're at you, not anyone else in your group.

Once Nezir's energy actually hits 90, he's going to port to the center of his platform and channel Sleet Storm. It's going to do 30K DPS to everyone on the platform divided by the number of people on the platform. You should have all 5 DPS (this is when they go ape on Nezir to try and get his health down), your healer, and you on Nezir's platform at this a little over 4K DPS per person for 15 seconds. (About 64K damage total, each.)

During this phase you should be standing on the North side of Nezir (the side furthest from the entrance and Al'Akir) and building threat. As soon as he's done casting Sleet Storm, he's going to cast Permafrost and you want to make sure none of your other raid members get hit by that.

At this point the DPS are all going to return to their respective platforms and you and your healer are going to stay there until the next tank swap.

If you're tanking one of the Djinn as he approaches death, keep a close eye on him. His health pool will stop at 1 and he will become invulnerable, but not inactive. You won't lose him as a target and you can still attack him, so it's not immediately obvious that you're done there.

The animation for the channeled heal spell has four air streams curving out, up, and back into the boss, making him look kind of like a stereotypical crown. When you see this, quickly head to one of the other platforms, go Cat, and do what damage you can to end the encounter.

Loot for the Conclave is somewhat unique. They drop rings and belts that have "random" stats. For Bears, these are what you're looking for:
Mistral Circle...
  • ...of the Windstorm (best)
    +285 Stam, +190 Agi, +126 Crit, +126 Mastery

  • ...of the Stormblast
    +285 Stam, +190 Agi, +126 Hit, +126 Crit

  • ...of the Windflurry
    +285 Stam, +190 Agi, +126 Crit, +126 Haste

  • ...of the Zephyr
    +285 Stam, +190 Agi, +126 Haste, +126 Mastery
Wind Stalker Belt...
  • ...of the Windstorm (best)
    +380 Stam, +232 Agi, +160 Crit, +160 Mastery

  • ...of the Stormblast
    +380 Stam, +232 Agi, +160 Hit, +160 Crit

  • ...of the Windflurry
    +380 Stam, +232 Agi, +160 Crit, +160 Haste

  • ...of the Zephyr
    +380 Stam, +232 Agi, +160 Haste, +160 Mastery

As with all my boss strats, I'm writing from the overall perspective of a Bear tank (in 10-man) and what they will need to do. For you Cats reading this blog, I suggest you check out Dinaer's guides on Forever a Noob. They're written for Rogues but are a pretty good guide for melee in general and his gear drop suggestions (with the exception of weapons) will be spot on for Cats. If I have additional insight, I will try to add it in my blog.


  1. Just randomly came across, and hoping to ask a question: I've noted that our bear tank has a really low dodge chance on this fight (doing Nezir and then moving to Anshal, then back again). Usually WoL shows him dodging around 35-40%; this has about 19%. As a bear tank, do you know of any mechanic causing this, or is it just RNG? He's a bit concerned :(

  2. I don't think there's any specific mechanic going on in that fight that specifically reduces Dodge.  A couple possibilities come to mind:

    1) As you said, RNG.  Half the dodges does seem a little brutal, but it's possible.  If you see the same low% across a number of attempts, then there's something else going on.

    2) If he's turning his sides/back to the bosses to run to the bridges, that'll do it.  Remember players can only dodge attacks coming from the front.  Same with rounding up the adds on Anshal.  If they're hitting from the sides or back, he's not dodging those attacks.

    3) Was he in the wrong spec/gear set?  It's a silly question, but I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I've done that.

  3. 2) might do it I think! He doesn't really ever DPS, so I can rule out 3), and I've noted it on a few log examples, so 1)s out. But 2) makes complete sense, he does turn to run to the bridges for Nezir; haven't paid too much attention to the positioning with the adds on Anshal. Thanks though, you'll have greatly reassured a good bear :)