Dragon Soul Tanking – 10M Warmaster Blackhorn
Though once vast in number, only a few dozen twilight dragons now remain. Astride these hardened survivors are the last vestiges of the Twilight’s Hammer army: the elite drake riders of Deathwing’s personal escort. Led by the insidious Warmaster Blackhorn, they move with unholy purpose, driven to protect their dark master. ~Dungeon Journal
Many players will refer to the Warmaster Blackhorn fight as this expansion’s Gunship. The only accurate part of this statement is that there is a gunship involved. Blackhorn is no where near as easy as ICC’s gunship battle was, and the fight requires heightened awareness by all players in the raid.
The fight has two phases that require a raid to be mobile and attentive to their surroundings.
Phase 1 requires your raid team to break up into teams to handle different aspects of the fight. Melee will be focusing on the Twilight Elite Dreadblades, the Twilight Elite Slayers, and the Twilight Sappers. Ranged will be working on the Twilight Assault Drakes, the Twilight Sappers, and assisting the the Elites when there are no drakes to target.
So let’s take a look at adds:
- Twilight Assault Drakes – These drakes deliver the Dreadblades and Slayers onto the ship, but hang around shooting small purple circles on the deck called Twilight Barrage (Shadow). Twilight Barrage deals 200K damage, which is split between each person within a 5 yard radius of the circle and the ship. Your goal is to have at least 3 members of your raid soak one of these circles, which reduces the amount of damage that the gunship takes. If a player solo soaks a circle, they will probably die unless a cooldown is used. After depositing their riders, the drakes will be snared by NPCs using the harpoon guns mounted on the ship and should be focused down by the ranged DPS. The drakes will manage to break away from the ship and will fly off. Once the guns are reloaded, the gunners will recollect the adds for the ranged to resume DPS on.
- Twilight Elite Dreadblade – The first mob to drop onto the deck each time. Dreadblades cast Degeneration (Shadow) in a frontal cone, so the mob must be tanked facing away from the raid. Degeneration deals roughly40K damage each hit, and deals 3K shadow damage every 2 seconds for 1 minute. The debuff stacks and this add should always die first. The Dreadblades also will perform Blade Rush, a charge that will inflict roughly 100K damage on anyone in his path. The target of Blade Rush and the path the Dreadblade will take are clearly shown on the surface of the ship. This gives players a moment to check their surroundings and completely avoid the damage inflicted by the charge if they are aware. Not avoiding this simple mechanic causes a lot of mana waste for healers and, if the target is already at low health, can kill them. This is also the easiest way to get your raid leader into a frenzied rage if players fail to avoid this visible attack.
- Twilight Elite Slayer – Like the Dreadblade, the Slayer will also perform Blade Rush on random players in the raid. Unlike the Dreadblade, the Slayer’s attack, Brutal Strike (Physical), is not a conal attack, and this mob can be pulled around the deck for circle soaking without concern for stacked raiders. Brutal Strike deals 150% weapon damage and causes the target tank to suffer 3K damage every 2 seconds for a minute.
- Twilight Sapper – The Sappers are tiny little Goblins who will drop down on the deck and cloak themselves with a smoke bomb before reappearing and making a mad dash (in a straight line) for the ship’s main cabin. Once inside, they will Detonate their massive load of explosives, causing roughly 250K fire damage to players within 8 yards, causing the gunship to lose 20% of it’s health instantly, and killing the Sapper. Sappers can be slowed, stunned, and Death Gripped back to the front of the ship as the DPS burns them down. When a Sapper spawns, all DPS should immediately switch to him to ensure a timely death.
While you’re fighting the 3 waves of adds that comprise Phase 1, Warmaster Blackhorn is flying around above you on Goriona, waiting to pounce. Goriona is spending this time making your raid’s life a bit more difficult, choosing to cast Twilight Onslaught (Shadow) on the deck of the Skyfire. Twilight Onslaught deals 800K damage which is split between all players within a 10 yard radius. Goriona’s Onslaught is the most deadly and your raid must all move to soak the circle. The only reason a player should remain out of the circle is if a Dreadblade is still active on the deck, and in that case the tank with the Dreadblade should be attempting to solo soak a Twilight Barrage (if one is up).
Tanks should be swapping their adds each time they drop. If a tank picks up the first Dreadblade, they should be getting a Slayer on the 2nd round of adds and then another Dreadblade on the 3rd.
A quick pick of how we (roughly) do positioning. Many thanks to my raid team for running off the ship when I asked them to so I could snap this SS!
Phase 2 is fairly short in length in comparison to Phase 1. There are only 2 mobs in play for this phase and the first can be taken out relatively quickly.
- Goriona is still around and instead of dropping Onslaughts for the raid team to soak, she is casting Twilight Flames, large circles of purple that you don’t want to stand in. The focus of the ranged (and any melee who have ranged abilities) is to get Goriona out of the picture as soon as possible. Once she reaches 25% health, she will abandon Blackhorn and your raid team can focus fire the boss.
Blackhorn has several things that the raid team should be looking out for:
- Devastate Physical - Each stack of Devastate lowers the targeted tank’s armor by 20% in addition to damage each time it applies. The debuff lasts 30 seconds. Tanks should be swapping every 2-3 stacks, depending on comfort level.
- Disrupting Roar Physical - Disrupting Roar causes roughly 50K damage to all raiders and silences anyone standing within 10 yards of him for 8 seconds. Casters and healers will want to position themselves closely to avoid Blackhorn’s Shockwave, but no closer than the 10 yard range.
- Shockwave Physical - A conal attack that Blackhorn will cast on a random target. Shockwave has a graphical representation on the ground and is the reason that the casters should be fairly close to Blackhorn for their attacks. Anyone who is caught in Shockwave when it hits (the spell has a 2.5 second cast) will take about 100K damage and be stunned for 4 seconds.
- Vengeance – For every percentage of his missing health, Blackhorn hits your tanks for 1% more damage.
Tanks should save their cooldowns for the end of the fight and rotate them in order to survive the increased damage from Vengeance.
- Mirror of Broken Images can be used for solo soaking Twilight Barrages.
- I use Divine Protection, glyphed, for soaking Twilight Barrages.
- Use raidwall as much as you can on Twilight Onslaughts. If you can, rotate raidwall with several other raid CDs to help out on damage (Spirit Link, AM, PW: B, AMZ), depending on your raid comp.
- Save as many of your personal CDs for the end of Phase 2.
These are my picks, YMMV.
Final option is a bit flexible, depending on your gearing and raid. My thoughts:
- Crusader Strike: Valid for fact that fight is a single mob fight. Increased crit results in more damage and a slightly faster boss death.
- Judgement: Totally dependent on if you have the 2pc T13 bonus which grants you an absorb shield each time you judge. Basically you get a larger absorb, which helps to reduce healing required, but I haven’t looked to see how much of a bonus you get. Probably not worth it in the long run, but every little bit helps.
Pick whichever one you feel most comfortable with! I typically glyph for threat over survivability, but it’s personal preference.
My logic: Focused Shield because it’s a single mob fight. Lay on Hands for the shorter duration (survivability again, but there’s really nothing stopping you from having a shorter CD on this “save your ass” spell). Divine Protection for the magic damage reduction.