So last night my guild wandered into the Trial of the Grand Crusader (hard mode Crusaders’ Coliseum, for the uninformed). We managed to down Beasts, Jaraxxus, and Faction Champions in 10-man. While most of the changes were straightforward, such as boss damage being raised, some upgrades came as a surprise.
Gormok the Impaler
Instead of having a second tank (3 are used in 25-man, I’ve heard) taunt at 3 stacks of Impale, we had our OT taunt at 2. At 3 it becomes simply too dangerous. In addition to more boss damage, you have to kill Gormok in a certain amount of time (I forget the exact amount, but DBM has a timer) or else the worms come out regardless of whether he’s dead or not.
We also had anyone who got Snobolded run out of melee range or, if they were ranged or a healer, run to just outside stomp range until the Snobold was killed.
Acidmaw and Dreadscale
My guild’s strategy on normal mode was to burn down Acidmaw first and just heal through the enrage. On hard mode, the enrage is significantly more dangerous so another option is to burn down both worms at once. We chose to focus our DPS on the mobile worm due to the knockback that the rooted worm does on those in melee range. While this means that you will end up having to switch to Dreadscale while he is in the ground to avoid killing Acidmaw early, this strategy worked well. Aside from a more potent enrage, the worms are the same as on normal.
However, if you’re overgeared for the worms (say, you run 25s in addition to 10s) you can also choose to just burn down Acidmaw right away and blow tank/healer cooldowns to survive the enrage. If you’re using this strategy, the worm-burn phase is a good time to Heroism too.
The only difference my guild noted (aside from more damage on basically everything, including the freezing breath, which makes spreading your raid out very important) was that after the 3rd charge-into-the-wall thing, Icehowl will enrage whether he ran into anyone or not. This simply adds a “burn or die” component to the fight, similar to Gormok, where he has to be taken down before the worms come out.
You also get no speed buff to get away from his charging into the wall, so you have to be more careful.
The major difference between normal and hard mode in this encounter is that the Infernal Volcanoes and the Netherworld Portals must be destroyed or they will continue to spawn Mistresses/Infernals. With good timing it’s possible to avoid getting a 2nd Mistress/more than 2 Infernals. Aside from that, everything else simply had its damage upped.
My guild made one strategy adjustment, and that was to have the ranged/healers stand in staggered pairs in a semicircle. Doing so makes sure that Fel Lightning only chains to one extra target. If your raid simply clumps up, you can get dangerous chains of Fel Lightning.
The only real difference is that all the mobs do more damage, have more HP, and heal for more. It’s harder and takes a bit more focus/communication than 10-man on normal, but it’s not a huge adjustment by any means. They are also untauntable/have PvP trinkets on short cooldowns (courtesy of commenter Gil).
Similar to Faction Champions, everything just got a boost numbers-wise. It’s important to position the twins close to their same-essence portals (for example, the Dark Twin should be next to a Dark portal). The reason for this is that for most special abilities cast by the twins, it’s necessary to be able to quickly swap essences.
One other strategy adjustment that I had to make was saving DPS cooldowns for the Twins’ Pact shield, which was difficult to get down. To aid DPS (especially melee) the Twins should be tanked close together, and with their backs facing the middle. This way melee DPS have very little distance to travel.
There are a few significant changes in heroic mode, aside from the expected buff in damage and HP (30% to both on Anub’arak). First, the Burrowers now cast a spell called Shadow Strike (8s cast, halved by the haste buff they cast on themselves). This ability does a base damage of 40000 (likely to one-shot anyone who’s not a tank) and is interruptable. These adds are still stunnable as well. The Burrowers also continue to spawn in phase 3 (the Leeching Swarm phase) unlike on normal.
Another of the changes is that you have a limited amount of Frost Spheres to work with (6). So when players are pursued by Impale in phase 2, they must take care to kite as far as they can. This accomplishes two things: first, it allows other players to move far away from the pursued player so that the next target will already be far away. Secondly, kiting for longer before running onto Permafrost allows you to break fewer Permafrost areas during phase 2.
Here are a few notes and tricks for phase 2.
- Hand of Protection grants immunity to impale damage but will not make Anub’arak choose a different target to pursue
- Immunity effects (such as Ice Block and Divine Shield) will cause Anub’arak to pursue another player
- If an unfortunate raid member with no escape mechanisms/blinks is targeted, it’s probably better to use Hand of Protection on them rather than on classes such as Warlocks and those who can force a different pursue target via immunity effects
- You may not necessarily want to drop all 3 Frost Spheres for the first phase so that you don’t accidentally have none left for phase 3 (where you need at least one patch of Permafrost to prevent adds from burrowing)
- No matter how much Ghostcrawler says “bring the player, not the class” doing Anub on heroic without a 50% healing debuff (Wound Poison, Aimed Shot, Mortal Strike) it will be significantly more difficult
Phase 3 works much the same way as on normal, except that Anub’arak heals for more and does more damage. It’s important to keep only the targets of Penetrating Cold and the tanks at full health – everyone else’s HP should kept be as low as possible to reduce the effects of Leeching Swarm. Your best bet is to only kill as many adds as necessary to allow your tank to survive the stacking debuff. You should also be allowing adds that are not being killed to burrow when new adds spawn to reduce their uptime over the encounter.
Having a Paladin tank on add duty for phase 3 is also very valuable due to their Holy Wrath ability to stun everything around them. Warriors can also shockwave to accomplish this. Interrupts have a high priority since they will one-shot anyone they hit.