Thursday, October 23, 2014

LFR Strategies and Tricks: Mists of Pandaria (Tier 15)

While leveling up in Pandaria, players were introduced to enemies such as the Mogu, Mantid, and Sha, all of which became major foes that had a significant influence on tier 14 content. Leveling in Kun'lai Summit also gave a glimpse into tier 15's content as well, pitting players against the Zandalari and indicating that the Thunder King had been awakened. Patch 5.2 brought the Isle of Thunder, where players of both factions had to sabotage the Thunder King's forces, further advancing into the fortress until Nalak was awakened. In addition, players could strike deep into the Thunder King's domain by entering the Throne of Thunder raid and encountering 12 bosses plus an additional Heroic-only boss.

This part of the guide will cover the LFR versions of Tier 15: The Throne of Thunder. Go back to the tier 14 guide by clicking here or advance to the tier 16 guide by clicking here.

The first boss of the Throne of Thunder tests the raid's gear level through high raid damage and a soft enrage mechanic. He is the definition of a tank and spank boss and the steroid effect he provides to the raid, along with the forgiving soft enrage makes him a pushover on LFR difficulty. To make the experience even easier, try the following:
  • Watch where the tank gets flung. While there are mechanics that force the tanks to switch, setting one as your Focus (by right clicking their character pane and clicking "Set Focus") and tracking the Focus (it'll show up as a circle bordered in thick grey brackets) on the map will allow you to determine where the tank fell, allowing you to reach the water that buffs damage and healing sooner.
    • While tracking the tank's location is helpful, don't stand below where they will fall. You will get stunned and take some damage.
  • For Tanks: when the water begins to spread, pull the boss into the quadrant so that all players benefit from the buff. Also watch for the Static Wound debuff on yourself or the other tank since often tanks don't respond to the debuff.
  • To maximize damage output, move towards the edge of the water so that you can step off as the boss uses Lightning Storm and electrifies the water, causing it to become a damaging field instead of a buff zone.
While Horridon looks intimidating and the expanse of the arena is vast, the encounter has been greatly trivialized by gear. Even without accounting for the fact some players in tier 16 gear (or higher) are probably present in the raid, this fight is pretty easy to manage despite the numerous adds that are summoned.
  • Keep an eye on the boss. Players will often gradually focus it down and once it reaches 30% health, War God Jalak will join the fight. As a general rule, start helping whittle Horridon down once he reaches about 60-65% health and has at least one stack of the debuff.
  • Watch out for Horridon's Double Swipe. It's not immediately easy to notice and the mechanic is different compared to most encounter mechanics since traditionally the back of the boss is considered safe, thus causing the ability to deal a lot of damage to players.
    • The boss will always use this ability after charging into someone.
  • There's often a conflict as to whether Horridon or War God Jalak should be focused down when the latter member joins the fight. It's often better to tunnel vision Horridon because other players in the raid will be more likely to do so as opposed to switching targets. Use all your personal and raid-wide cooldowns when Jalak comes down to help beat the soft enrage he has.
  • Focusing adds is generally important, good practice, and should be prioritized over Horridon until the scenario I mentioned above occurs. Always focus the Dinomancers since the orbs they drop allow a player to stun Horridon and temporarily stop adds from spawning. Dinomancers should be priority no matter what because of how greatly they can change the fight for a time.
    • On the related note the orbs are giant white and yellow spheres that will show up when the Dinomancer transforms, which occurs when they reach half health.
    • It also helps to interrupt the Dinomancer's Dino Mending. Not only is this great practice  but it also prevents progress on Horridon from being erased.
  • For Healers: The enemies from the second and third doors in particular will apply large amounts of dispellable debuffs to the raid (Poison for the former and Disease for the latter). It helps greatly to dispel these effects to reduce raid damage taken (especially the stacking Disease effect).
While the Council of Elders has a plethora of mechanics, only a couple are remotely dangerous for the raid. However, one, if left ignored, will wipe the raid and must therefore be adhered to in a timely manner.
  • Assign all melee DPS to focus Sul the Sandcrawler, using all cooldowns to defeat him faster. Ranged should focus the target that is possessed to prevent Dark Energy from reaching 100 and causing damage to the raid (this damage will eventually cause a wipe if left unchecked).
    • The possessed target will grow noticeably larger and will turn a dark purple/black color.
    • Melee should try to interrupt Sand Bolt. It's good practice and the damage does add up if left uninterrupted. 
  • Try to stack the bosses together and use area of effect abilities (mostly cleaving skills that hit two or three targets) to maximize damage output (but note that Kazra'jin cannot be moved).
    • When Mar'li is possessed, focus down the spirit she summons because if that spirit reaches its target, they die.
    • It is generally better to stay spread out a bit on this fight. Aside from Sul, there's not a lot of raid-wide damage going out but there are abilities that can damage an area or near players.
    This turtle is a true main tank as it tanks the aggro of the entire raid and literally blocks progression further into the second wing of the Throne of Thunder. Like Jin'rokh, however, he is a pushover ofa boss, especially since his mechanics have been greatly tuned down to the point that certain normally lethal abilities can be ignored.
    • While this encounter is considered a tank and spank, there are many adds that should be prioritized over the boss.
      • The turtles, while not dangerous damage-wise, are frustratingly disruptive due to their knock-up effect. These should be the first target of focus. Also, when the turtles have been defeated, don't use the extra actionbar button to kick them around randomly. See the next note for what to do with them.
      • The boss also summons bats that should be dealt with. Stack them close to the boss and use lots of area of effect to take them down.
    • Tortos's breath attack is not that strong on LFR. However, you can practice kicking shells to interrupt the ability if you so desire by using the extra actionbar button and positioning yourself behind the shell while facing Tortos.
    While this boss shares a name with a certain mythical character, it is a hydra that must be destroyed by defeating enough of its heads much like a certain mythical creature. The fight is similar to Madness of Deathwing in the sense that the fight doesn't change that much strategically when fighting each head but the encounter progressively becomes more difficult.
    • The typical strategy is to ignore the Frozen Head (the middle one) and defeat the Flaming and Venomous Heads. Remember to stay away from where the heads are facing as they have a frontal breath attack (if you are a tank face them away from the group).
    • For Healers: Keep an eye on allies who have Cinders. It is better to delay the dispel and remove it when the group is moving to kill another head if the player with the effect fails to leave the group. Also, don't automatically dispel it immediately (as some addons can accomplish something similar to this).
    Note: Some of the trash before Ji-Kun will spawn if a player steps on a specific area, such as on a pile of spider eggs or bones. Be very careful where you step and stay with the group if possible. Also, don't stand near the giant snails.

    Ji-Kun is a giant bird who has made its roost in the Throne of Thunder. She fights her foes on a platform that is akin to a plateau of a mountain as falling off results in a long drop (though thankfully not a lethal one). She also calls her young to join the fight by feeding her young. However, despite the fact she has several mechanics with a little coordination the encounter can be simplified.
    • Ji-Kun will feed her young periodically, causing them to hatch in a specific nest. While there is a set pattern, what you should watch for is a giant beam of red light over an area. Keep in mind this may be behind you or above you.
      • There is typically an assigned "nest group" to kill Ji-Kun's young as they hatch.
      • Do not worry too much about fall damage when going to a nest below the platform. The damage is greatly reduced. Just try not to miss the nest (it won't kill you but it wastes a lot of time).
    • Even if you're not assigned to the nests, it doesn't hurt to jump down, touch one of the feathers the hatchlings drop to get access to a special skill that allows flight. This allows you to fly over skills like Downdraft (which usually knocks players off the platform).
    • Try to stay spread out a little to avoid Caw since it deals a large amount of damage if more than one sound wave hits a group of players.
    Durumu is the boss that introduces you to the third wing of the Throne of Thunder. Unlike the first bosses of the previous two wings, he is no pushover and will almost always score a kill on your LFR group (if not many) due to his mechanics.
    • Use all cooldowns right at the start of this fight. This will ensure the maximum benefits that the cooldowns give since some raid members will probably die.
    • After a time, Durumu will mark three players in the group with different colored light beams. If you are marked with either the blue or red beam, move around the platform to reveal fogs since defeating the fog adds causes the beams to go away.
      • To easily get the beam to cover every part of the platform, get as close to the boss as possible and run a circle around him since the beam originates from the boss.
    • Some time after Durumu marks players with beams, he will begin to use Disintegration Beam. When he does so, he covers the platform in Eye Sores, which deal damage over time to anyone touching it. Safe spots will show up in the area the beam is about to reach (meaning safe spots lead the beam, indicating the direction the beam moves and effectively forcing players to run from the beam).
      • Eye Sores don't do a lot of damage on LFR. It is better to sit still instead of trying to run through the purple beam the boss creates because Disintegration Beam is an instant kill. Do not run through the beam ever, as this is why a lot of players in LFR die to Durumu.
    While this boss looks intimidating, the most difficult and frustrating aspects of him are the sheer amount of lag the fight causes and the negative mutations your character can receive. On another note, I swear there's some Lord of the Rings joke to be made here...
    • The boss will spawn a large amount of slime adds. You need to defeat two of them to acquire the five buffs to fully mutate as each when defeated provides three mutations. Make sure to walk over the red ooze on the ground repeatedly to receive all the mutations.
      • Do not walk over purple ooze on the ground. It gives negative mutations.
      • In LFR it is safe to dispel players with negative mutations. It only removes the negative mutations and leaves the positive ones intact despite listing all of them as "Magic debuffs."
    • It is highly recommended that you turn down graphics settings for this encounter in particular. In addition, if you run addons like Recount, turn them off.
    This fearsome construct is the final boss of the third wing of the Throne of Thunder and, as its name implies, it is powered by a substance called anima, which is further mentioned were one to encounter the secret boss of the Throne of Thunder. This boss can get chaotic due to the large amount of adds the raid has to deal with at the beginning, but the encounter becomes easier over time on LFR.
    • When the first wave of adds attacks, try to group up or at least stay near a tank (if you're not a tank) so that all the adds can be grouped and taken down with area of effect.
    • Afterwards, spread out to avoid Crimson Wake. You'll know if you're being specifically targeted by one if you see this debuff on you.
    • Once the Dark Animus activates and the Large Anima Golems are defeated, it's safe to stack up a bit again to help heal through Interrupting Jolt. Don't stack near Massive Anima Golems.
    The Iron Qon is in a way a mogu houndmaster, except he trains the mogu's beast of choice: the quilen. In his battle with you he will unleash his "hounds", though mechanically he has a lot more bite than his quilen minions (given how he considers them little more than tools it wouldn't be right to consider them his companions).
    • The boss's spears are the most dangerous mechanic of the fight. Avoid the fields of fire, ice, and lightning they create as they will radiate outward from the spear when he throws them at a target.
      • You cannot jump over the fields, even if it looks possible.
      • The stun caused by the lightning spear effect can be dispelled.
      • The slowing effect cause by the frost spear effect, while not dangerous, is extremely frustrating since it can stack and cause attacks and movement speed to be greatly reduced for a time.
    • The boss pull all players to the middle of the courtyard during his second phase, when Quet'zel is active. Run towards the entrance to the courtyard and stay there, ensuring that the boss is pulled out of the mass of tornadoes as they will remain.
    • Stack for the final phase when he fights by himself as he does a huge amount of damage to the group.
    The twin consorts guard the way to the Thunder King and while each has its own unique set of mechanics and life pool, they are both not that threatening compared to the previous bosses on LFR.
    • The bosses will often throw out some area of effect skill that damages some of the raid. Try to stack up if possible to regenerate the otherwise minimal damage through group healing.
      • Healers should also try to throw in some damage if possible since this encounter is not really that healing intensive, especially when Suen is not active.
      • Suen will make a patch of fire that should be avoided, though a group with reasonably strong healers could ignore it entirely.
    • Use all cooldowns when Suen is active since she is probably the more dangerous of the two.
    • In the corners of the room are miniatures of the Celestials. You can right click on them and practice drawing their constellations if you so desire to grant an effect to your raid, though they are not really necessary.
    The Thunder King, Lei Shen, serves as the major big bad for patch 5.2's Throne of Thunder. While he may have an imposing citadel set on an equally imposing island, he serves as the major power source that causes the air of the Isle of Thunder to crackle with malice. Lei Shen is appropriately the most difficult boss in LFR Throne of Thunder and for a time after he was made available to defeat, raids wiped so often they got many Determination stacks on him. While he's a lot easier now with patch 5.4's release of the next tier (along with 6.0's general rework that essentially made every boss in the game easier to defeat), he still requires a lot of personal attention and respect for his mechanics through group coordination.
    • For Tanks: Drag the boss from corner to corner, trying to prevent the conduits from overloading during the first phase. However, during the second phase, tank the boss in a corner adjacent to the corner that gets overloaded with electricity and overload that conduit on purpose to ensure that corner also overloads, maximizing the space players have for the boss's third phase.
    • There are a lot of mechanics that need to be accounted for, mostly by responding through stacking up or avoiding the attack. For instance:
      • Stay out of white circles since while they may not deal lethal damage on LFR even if the attack is a direct hit, it does deal a huge amount of damage.
      • Stay out of blue clouds on the ground.
      • Stay away from electrified quadrants of the room. This may not be immediately noticeable but the floor looks like it has electric current flowing through it.
      • The boss will spawn blue swirls on the ground that need to hit a player or it will spawn an add.
      • When you see a player with a blue arrow on their head, stack with them (or stack with other players if you have the arrow).
      • Stack up with players that grow abnormally large. Stay inside the bluish ring to avoid getting stunned.
    • In general, try to stay stacked up, especially on phase 3. Many of the encounter's mechanics favor stacking as opposed to spreading out. In addition, the adds spawned by Diffusion Chain are not that strong and easily killed by area of effect.

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