We’re heading back into the Tower of Orthanc this week. After you tackle the wing of Fire and Frost, you have a choice of either the Lightning or Acid wings. I’d recommend the Lightning wing as a good second stop; we’ll keep our bouncing shoes in the cupboard for a later week.

Lightning wing Tier 1

The lightning wing involves three moderately difficult trash pulls leading up to a boss fight that is quite reminicient of the fear wing (Durin’s Bane) in Ost Dunhoth. On tier 1 the boss fight is relatively easy, but there’s quite a few ways for an unprepared raid group to run into trouble.

Trash

As with the Fire and Frost wing, there are three trash pulls leading up to the boss. All of the mobs come pre-marked with symbols, as was the case in OD. As in the acid wing, some of the mobs have a new crowd-control mechanic called adaptation. Mobs with adaptaion will typically gain immunity to a particular type of cc for the rest of the fight once that type of cc has been applied to it once. The types of cc which are counted by adapted mobs are – daze, stun, fear, root and FM stun. The three trash pulls in F&F consist of the following mobs:

  • Trash pull 1: 3 haulers (deep claws), 1 taskmaster (orcs), 2 crushers (trolls)
  • Trash pull 2: 3 haulers, 3 taskmasters, 1 crusher
  • Trash pull 3: 3 haulers, 3 taskmasters, 2 crushers

Here’s an overview of these mobs, along with quick strategy for dealing with them:

  • Deep Claw haulers (35k). Abilities: Bloodlust (anti-kiting mechanism). These are weak and relatively bening mobs. Using any form of cc on them, including roots, or kiting them is not advisable as they gain a stacking damage buff if they do not regularly hit something. They should either be dealt with quickly at the start of a pull or picked up by a tank and kept off to the side until the more dangerous mobs are killed.
  • White Hand Taskmasters (80k). Abilities: Adaptation, leadership buff, healing puddles. As with the taskmasters in the Fire and Frost wing, these are high priority and dangerous targets. Unlike the T1 taskmasters in the other wing though, they do have adaptation which makes cc on them a time-limited option. There are a number of ways to deal with adaptation, personally I like to first apply a fear (preferably a traited hunter bard’s arrow which is 20s, but a minstrel’s cry of the valar also works) followed by a 30-35s mez (both burgs and lore-masters can get a 35sec mez with the right gear or traits). Once that all wears off, you have the option of using a stun, including a FM stun, to get an additional few seconds. Roots aren’t particularly useful on taskmasters as some of their more annoying abilities, particularly the healing puddle, can be cast while rooted. For all pulls, I recommend that you pick one taskmaster and kill it as quickly as possible and then use as much cc as you have available on the other taskmasters, killing them one by one. This will require good, focussed DPS – and make sure whoever ends up tanking the kill target keeps it out of the big green healing puddles.
  • White Hand Crushers (160k). Abilities: 360 degree AOE attack (distributed?). These are relatively simple to deal with as they don’t have adaptation. In all pulls, they should be perma-mezzed by a lore-master or burglar until the end of the fight. For the first pull, it looks like there is only one troll but there’s actually true – the one marked with a skull comes in from the far right once the pull is activated (I think people with top end gfx settings may be able to see it from the outset). My group has always grouped up on these guys when they wake up on the theory that their AOE is distributed but I’m actually not 100% certain that it is. Either way, lore-masters should try to make sure fire lore is up on the trolls before waking them up as they hit quite hard.

There’s also a very odd little mechanic in these pulls. Non-targetable deep claws will periodically run across the room and give you a “trampled” wound which does about 900 damage. It’s not much to worry about.

The third pull is the obviously most challenging of all these pulls. You will need at least 3 classes capable of cc to do it without problems, and your aim should be to perma mez both trolls and cc two of the adapting taskmasters as much as possible while you burn down the non-mezzed taskmaster. Have one of your tanks pick up the haulers and the other any taskmasters that are awake. If your group doesn’t have much cc, you can just have a tank pickup all taskmasters and kite them around; this will involve the tank taking a fairly large amount of damage though as all three taskmasters will buff each other in proximity.

Boss Fight – Kalbak (Troll, 1.45 million morale)

No, I don't know why I had the bog-guardian pet. Or a scarf.

Recommended virtues: The boss fight has periodic spike AOE tactical damage, so I recomment Tolerance, Fidelity, Zeal for all classes. I I use Valour and Wisdom as my final two traits.

As with the fear wing in Ost Dunhoth, this is the tank fight of the raid. It’s a very similar fight structurally to the fear wing so if your group has experience there you’ll be familiar with what is required. For T1 it is recommended that your group stationary tank Kalbak in one of the corners of the room, with the boss facing the corner, the melee directly behind him and the ranged group about 15m behind that (the ranged group should not stand directly in the middle of the room). On T1 the fight is, again, not a hard DPS race so let your tanks setup positioning and get a good threat lead at the start. There is quite a lot of damage in the fight, though, and it increases in magnitude as the fight goes on thanks to a stacking debuff so if you can start pumping out the DPS after that then that’ll make things a lot easier on your healers. I recommend that lore-masters use the raven pet for tactical mitigation in this fight.

The specific mechanics of the fight are as follows:

  • Static debuff. This the mechanic for the tank or tanks to worry about. It is a tiering debuff that increases on the Kalbak’s current aggro target for as long as they are getting hit. When it gets to 10, it goes BOOM with a big AOE damage effect (10k+). It’s generally recommended that groups execute a tank swap at about 4-5 stacks of the debuff, but it’s also possible to single tank the fight, with the tank running away from the rest of the group before it gets to 10 and just having the healers get ready for the hit. If you don’t deal with this effectively though then it will wipe the raid.
  • Stuns on the tank. This is a big one to highlight for lore-masters. The boss will periodically stun its current aggro target, so keep stun prot up on tanks at all time. This is a critical job because if the tanks are stunned, they can’t deal with the static debuff so make sure you keep on top of your sop:r application on both tanks.
  • “The Storms Come”. Kalbak periodically summons Elhudin adds at his feet which hang around and do a distributed damage explosion after an apparently random amount of time (the best theory seems to be that the explosion is an special attack that the adds can do, and they randomly cycle through their normal attacks before exploding). Sometimes they stay up for 5 seconds, sometimes 20. Either way, have a ranged DPS pull it over to the healing group (assuming there’s a decent number of people in it) and let it explode. If your healers are finding it too hard to deal with the distributed explosion, then have the melee group run back to the ranged group as well while these adds are up. I recommend saving your frost-lore debuff for the lights (try to apply it when they’re standing next to the boss); even though the boss does do a lot of tactical damage, it’s mainly to to the tank and predictable damage to a single target is easier for healers to deal with than big spike damage to the whole group.
  • Shock. After 70% morale, the boss will periodically callout someone’s name (“Shock _____”) and that person becomes the target of a chain lighting attack. If there is another player within 5m of that player about 5sec after this callout, then the chain lightning will spread and continue to spread like this until the whole attack times out (either becase there are no targets for it to spread to, or after about 30s). The initial shocked player takes a stacking amount of damage for the duration of the effect. On T1, this mechanic is essentially ignorable – just have your healers drop a few heals on the inital shocked player for the duration. I’d recommend that your group practice for T2 though by trying to get the shocked player to instantly run away from the group; if you fail to prevent the chain lightning spreading then don’t worry (ie don’t have the whole group start running around like crazy to break it; it’ll get too confusing), but it’s good practice to try to deal with it if you can.
  • Polarity (“Lightning shatter!”). After 30% morale, the boss will start doing a polarity attack. This sends out big spikes of lightning from the boss along the cardinal points of the compass, possibly along with some short-ranged 360 degree AOE damage. Just make sure the group is at a 45 degree angle to the boss and continue killing him dead. If you are having problems with the melee group dying, have them run away a bit from the boss when he calls this attack out.
  • Steam debuff. There are vents of steam throughout the room which give players a tiering debuff which increases their outgoing damage of all types but also makes them take more incoming tactical damage. I haven’t exactly figured out where the steam vents are, but it seems that people closer to the center of the room get a higher tier of this debuff by the end of the fight. There’s nothing you can do to decrease it once you’ve got it, just be aware of it and it’s a good reason to end the fight as quickly as you can.

That pretty much covers the fight. It’s definitely doable for all raid groups imo, provided your tanks are able to deal with the static debuff and you have a reasonable level of DPS to end the fight before the steam debuff gets too overwhelming.