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Thread: Blackwing Descent Strategy Notepad

  1. #1

    Default Blackwing Descent Strategy Notepad

    A few notes on Maloriak:

    Tanking Assignments

    I hate to say it, but given our current stratagem is leaning towards gathering adds > killing adds > repeat, our tanking assignments are quite backwards.

    Due to my "blocking" mechanics as a Druid, my effectiveness to mitigate incoming damage drops dramatically the more targets are attacking me (that is, the faster attacks are incoming). For a boss with a typical high damage, normal attack speed, my block values are relatively the same or higher than other tanks (as I'll typically absorb more hits on average due to higher avoidance). However, since my absorb only counts for the next incoming hit and doesn't carry over, and since it requires my own melee crit to activate, once I get multiple mobs on me, my effective damage reduction from block effects drops significantly.

    I finally managed to piece together a bit of a parser to figure out Savage Defense effectiveness to illustrate the difference of absorbs facing multiple targets. Here is the data from one of our 4+ minute Maloriak fights:

    Here's another attempt:

    So already we see a fairly weak absorption relative to total percentage of damage. However, as indicated by the average SD absorb, since these are weak mobs not hitting for much, the average absorb when SD can proc is not very high (that is to say, I block the full hit fairly easily and most of my SD value is wasted, as the actual SD value will almost never fall below the average values seen above).

    It isn't so bad when I've just got a handful of adds on me, as I'll absorb a full hit every few seconds pretty easily, dodge a handful of others, and take a bit of damage. However, as illustrates by the later portions of the logs against Maloriak's adds, if strings of non-crits happen and a lot of powerful adds are attacking me, things get real ugly:

    That is not altered at all, it's the last 10 seconds of my life during one of our better attempts, and shows not a single SD proc occurred

    With a little data snatching I've deduced Vikrum's block chance to be about 46-47%. If he chose to add a couple mastery trinkets, that'd bump to about 52%. Slight variances with food used and such, but raid-buffed he'll have around 24.28% avoidance, which means he would only take full-damage on 23.72% of attacks, and the rest would miss or be blocked for 40% with full-time Holy Shield active.

    On the other hand, my avoidance raid-buffed is 37.43%, so I take full-damage on 62.57% of attacks unless I proc Savage Defense first. However, as mentioned, that can be fairly rare as seen above.

    If we take the same 10 sec log above and put Vikrum as the tank (using my avoidance, which slightly skews the data but not too much), we get a very different story.

    Kulldon Incoming Damage: 169,149
    Vikrum Incoming Damage: 133,966
    Vikrum Block Damage: 35,183 or 20.8%

    In a 10 second period, 35k less damage is a pretty substantial gain, and certainly it could spike up even higher than that depending on the RNG rolls, but unlike my own block chances, Vik's won't change sporadically and won't decrease in value as mob attack speed increases.

    To further illustrate the point, against a normal raid boss with a 2 second swing timer, I have a 68% chance to absorb/block an incoming hit, which obviously puts me above Vik's ~52% block chance, and that's all fine and dandy. However, if I drop the attack speed down to 0.20 (approximate incoming attack speed with 9 mobs on me, given I can't apply attack speed debuff to all of them consistently), my chance to block/absorb any given incoming hit is 12.8%. Vikrum, on the other hand, would still remain at 52% regardless of attack speed changes.

    That was a long way of saying Vik and I are going to switch roles for this fight

    He'll take a lot less spikey damage from the add spawns, especially during the late stages when there are more mobs attacking. He may not put out as much DPS as I would, but it should be counteracted by more DPS on the boss and my ability to help interrupt Maloriak as well.

    With Vik on adds, I think he can fairly easily handle 9 spawns. If we go in a pattern (again, assuming 5 spawns per phase): Spawn > Interrupt > Interrupt > Spawn > Spawn, that will give Vik a good chunk of time to beat on that first set of adds and perhaps even kill 1 or 2 before he has to deal with anymore. We also know 6 adds is fairly trivial, and once 9 spawn, the Green phase will pop soon enough that he can use a cooldown (or get one from a healer) until the adds are killed during Green phase and the process repeats.

    DPS on Adds

    If the above doesn't work for some reason (which I can't imagine), we're quite solid on DPS at this stage, and could consider putting a bit of DPS on adds during the normal fight. Even something minor like a few instant dots, a harkle pet, or living bombs may be enough to knock a few adds down in that first spawn set.
    Last edited by Kulldam; 01-07-2011 at 12:26 AM.

  2. #2


    Very impressive analysis. I'm pretty jealous in fact. I do think this is a great idea though. With my JC mastery trinket I am sitting at 49.86% block un-buffed. I should be able to get that over 50% easily with food.

    -edit-Picked up the douche version of the mastery trinket from Hellscream (I am far off from exalted.) Anyhow with that it puts me at 53.02% un-buffed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulldam View Post
    my ability to help interrupt Maloriak as well
    Didn't really know where to put this but since you mentioned interrupting, I thought this would be a good place. Just wanted to point out that the changes on the PTR have it so ALL Paladins have a castable interrupt that is not on the GCD. You do have to be in melee range though.
    Last edited by Vikrum; 01-07-2011 at 08:59 AM.

  3. #3


    While reading some forums this morning found this little tidbit. I think this is why we are thinking he sometimes casts summon 4 times per green vial and 5 times on others.

    Curse of Tongues definitely slows his casts, including the rate at which his Arcane Storm ticks. One thing of note is that from what we've noticed, having Curse of Tongues up right on the start means Maloriak will interrupt his own first Aberrations cast because partway through it he'll realize "Oh right, I need to throw a bottle into the cauldron now".

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Vikrum View Post
    While reading some forums this morning found this little tidbit. I think this is why we are thinking he sometimes casts summon 4 times per green vial and 5 times on others.
    Right on, good find, and I remember hearing someone in Mumble the other night suggest that as a possibility so good to have some slight confirmation. I assume we can just skip Tongues until after the first cast (since we're letting that one go anyway) and then keep it up for the rest of the time and be OK. We'll see!

  5. #5


    So this is a pretty good video for giving everyone some ideas and allowing everyone to get another view of the raid. Helps a lot to be able to watch what all is going on around you when you don't have to worry about your life bar.

    But first two things. This guy is kind of annoying and I don't know how sound their strategy is. Anyhow here is the link.

  6. #6
    Allowed Visitor Bunny's Avatar
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    i dont understand, what kind of how to vid was that. how to wipe? =P lol. cos we got that covered already!!

    also they appear to be using 3 tanks.

    What we do for ourselves dies with us.
    What we do for others and the world remains, and is immortal.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Vikrum View Post
    So this is a pretty good video for giving everyone some ideas and allowing everyone to get another view of the raid. Helps a lot to be able to watch what all is going on around you when you don't have to worry about your life bar.

    But first two things. This guy is kind of annoying and I don't know how sound their strategy is. Anyhow here is the link.
    I love you Vik, but I think everyone would be better served with a link to a Nefarian 10 Date-Sorted YouTube Search instead, cause that video wasn't very useful or informative. Yes, it shows a view of the fight without worrying about wiping, I'll give you that, but I would (HOPE) everyone can just search around YouTube for various kill videos to get that sort of perspective, because as for a How-To video this was awful.

    The first thing that jumps out (other than I know I would hate that commentator in real life), is this is from the Beta and is thus 2 months old. Moreover, they are just doing stuff wrong and no one should use their strategy as an idea of how to properly execute the fight -- from one night of attempts we already know far more than they do in this video (burn Nef down as much as possible before changing phases, don't kite adds into breath/fire, fire spreads and will chase add targets during phase 3, interrupt P2 adds but don't kill until you absolutely need to or the phase timer is about to end, etc.)

    Anyway, a few things that stood out from last night:

    Phase 1

    We have it down pretty solidly (CCing adds, focusing DPS on Nef primarily once Onyxia reaches 20%). That said, I think our DPS is high enough and we're capable of pushing Nef below 80% (That is, going through two Electrocute casts before finishing off Onyxia and entering Phase 2). Part of doing that is to better handle adds, and one thing we can easily do is have Bauser take his add (an early spawn ideally), build up a good chunk of threat (enough to out-threat 50 seconds of healing), then go about DPSing whatever we're attacking, because otherwise, with the way we were doing it last night, Bauser may as well BE a third tank, as he really isn't doing his normal DPS to both the dragons.

    Additionally, we may want to stop DPS on Onyxia slightly sooner than 20%, as during a couple attempts, I had to slow down my attack rotation (meaning, use weaker moves or stop attacking), which is not only a waste of damage, but also hinders my mitigation quite a bit. So perhaps stopping on Onyxia at 30% would help us do over 20% to Nef before we need to kill Onyxia.

    Phase 2

    Clearly we only had a small handful of attempts after we got our strategy down enough to solidly get into Phase 2, but once we did, a number of people were having trouble with the movement onto the pillars and the initial damage output immediately thereafter. One tip that worked for me for getting out of lava:
    1. Before lava appears, move up against the pillar, pressing your character forward so you're right against it, then stop moving.
    2. As the lava fills in, try to use your mouse hand to angle your camera above you (so you can see out of the lava).
    3. Without pressing forward yet, once the lava starts to rise above your character, hold space bar so you rise vertically.
    4. Once the lava reaches the top and stops rising, keep jumping and now hold forward. Within a couple jumps, you should get over the "lip" and be on the platform.

    We should also split DPS groups to have extra interrupt coverage for that first Blast Nova cast in case the melee assigned has trouble for whatever reason getting that first interrupt, as it comes very quickly.

    Also, because I think Phase 2 ends when all three Prototypes die OR after the phase timer ends, we should specifically have one Prototype left alive (at low health) while the other two are killed immediately by all DPS on their respective platforms. Given my DPS is weakest and I can reliably interrupt every Blast Nova for my platform, I figure something like having my platform (which is me, a healer, and a ranged) keep our Prototype alive at 20% or so will work best, while the other two platforms all kill their prototype ASAP. This would of course reduce the interrupts and potential damage from Blast Nova. Granted Ansum and Bauser won't be able to do much after they kill their Prototype, but at least they have a few ranged attacks to throw on Nef.

    Phase 3

    This seems to truly come down to the add control and kiter team and how well they can handle the adds. Otherwise the rest of the raid takes NO DAMAGE except the Electrocute every 10% of Nef's health, and can stay completely stationary the entire fight (except if a fire patch lands on them obviously). This allows group healing effects to be very powerful for Electrocute damage, so all we really need to worry about is Vikrum's survival and kite path so as to keep adds out of fire for at least 50 seconds at a time.

    As for the kite path itself, once Vik has gathered all the adds onto him, I think this would be the best general kite path system (assuming the raid/dragon are gathered at the south as seen here):

    That means Vik (and his undead buddies) all start at the Open Square near the center of the room and perform a series of ever-growing half circles. The fire will follow the same path, always attempting to touch the adds on Vik. The most important thing, however, is the distinction of this sort of pattern (starting middle and going out) versus one that starts on the outside, which would be the common-sense inclination. The issue with starting on the outside, however, is that it actually limits the (reasonable) kite area LATER into the fight, when things are already more hectic. In this way, if the fire follows properly, by starting in the middle and working outward, as the phase goes on, Vik will actually have an easier time with his kiting path (as the half-circle size increases with each turn-around).

    It's also worth noting that the fire during this phase does despawn at some point, thus the cycle can theoretically be repeated, assuming all goes according to plan.

    All in all, it isn't a very mechanically difficult fight, it just clearly has a fairly high execution and gear threshold and practice will get us there fairly soon I think!

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Kulldam View Post
    I love you Vik, but
    Well....I looked for the guy who normally does the Vox Immortalis' videos but couldn't find one. No clue what that guy has been up to but clearly it's not videos.

    As to the topic at hand I'll admit I didn't give the search a lot of effort and I certainly didn't intend for anyone to take that as "THE' how-to. Just as you somewhat eluded to...a video to watch w/o having to worry with wiping. I have seem some of Towelliee's videos in the past and they are usually way better.

    As the young folks would say "my bad."

  9. #9


    Looking through the WoL parse for the last 6 attempts on Nef (skipping the one where we didn't make it to phase 2), I tried to figure out what was killing Ansum. Turns out, the last three hits (which is what WoL shows by default) leading up to each death included damage from the Prototype's Blast Nova AoE damage.

    I looked up the Blast Nova on Wowhead and it turns out that it has a 200 yard range, hitting the entire room. This means that if any of the three adds is not properly interrupted, everyone in the room is taking damage from it.

    I then went and watched about a dozen 10 man Nef kill videos, and in every one, I watched how long between Blast Nova casts. In every video, regardless of what class was interrupting, the Prototype never started a new cast until 10-11 seconds had gone by. Even though there are slightly different lockout times between different class interrupts, the time between casts was always the same (even when a mage interrupted with CS, which has the longest lockout at 8 seconds). And the damage doesn't actually begin channeling until the entire cast bar finishes. This makes it clear that it's completely interruptable by just one "normal" interrupter (rogue, feral druid, DK, warrior, shaman, ret paladin).

    Missing the first tick of it because the designated interrupter is having a hard time getting onto the pillar may happen every now and then, but there's no reason anyone should be dying to Blast Nova damage (or getting hit by it at all, unless one of the interrupters has already died from something else).

    Additionally weird is that WoL shows that Kull applied the Skull Bash debuff to Prototypes 47 times across all attempts, but doesn't record a single actual interrupt from him. This implies that either he hit Skull Bash too early 47 times in a row (which would be impressive), or that for some reason, his Skull Bash is not actually interrupting the Blast Nova. However, in one of the videos I watched, the POV was a bear tank who was interrupting each cast. Could be, "Maybe WoL just doesn't show interrupts from Skull Bash," but all it does is parse the combat log for the phrase "(whoever)'s (whatever) interrupts (whoever's) (whatever)." And that implies no interrupt was taking place, whatever the reason.
    Last edited by Dux; 01-11-2011 at 04:01 AM.

  10. #10


    I have no advice for p2. It sucks. Shadow Barrage is just stupid.

    As far as p3 though I have been reading about some of the issues with tanks picking up all the adds. I don't know how practical this is but one person suggested having a Holy Pally healer stay on top of the add tank with RF on. That way soon as any adds are brought back to life they immediately go to him and I just take them off of him.

    Another suggestion was they have all the adds go down in a pile together (no clue how, working on figuring this out) and that way during p3 they have the Nef tank face Nef towards said pile in order to shoot his breath right on the pile bring all of them to life at once. Which if that was the case obviously I would have no problem getting them all on me at once and beginning the excellent kite path Kull laid out.

    -edit- Can anyone confirm or deny that the Shadow Bolt Barrage thing does splash damage?
    Last edited by Vikrum; 01-11-2011 at 09:53 AM.

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