View Single Post

Craxim's Avatar

09.14.2012 , 02:08 PM | #2
Want to preface this by announcing that this is a spoiler post, if you want to learn the fight 100% on your own, don't continue reading.

Join us as we figure out the fights on 16 man HM! We stream Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Monday from 8pm to 12am EST! We drunk raid on Fridays and might raid on Sunday too!

Healers POV:


Table of Contents:
I. The Writhing Horror
II. The Dread Guard
III. Operator IX
IV. Kephess the Undying
V. Terror from Beyond

This time it's going to be split into a mechanics section, role section, and phase/strategy section. Slight changes will be made in the layout however as last time the mechanics section was just all the mechanics for 1 boss, this time I will have to separate them out into which mechanics are for which of the 3 bosses. Role section will roughly the same, and the strategy section will be the strategy broken down into what goes on in each phase of the fight. I don't know the names of all mechanics and unfortunately don't have images for every one, but I did my best and will get the ones I don't have when we kill it again next week.

General Info (The early TL;DR): Hard Enrage is believed to be 6:30. Oh yeah, there are 3 bosses. Heavy damage, tank switches, don't stand in circles, dps switch targets often. Kill video is located here.



What he's buffed with:

Boss Immunity: This one is obvious but I'm putting it here anyways. They all have this, every boss in every Op in the game has this pretty much, we all know what it does. Can't CC em or knock em round.

Unshakable: Another common one but worth mentioning, this boss can't be interrupted.

Taunt Immunity: These will stop being obvious, I promise. Immune to taunts, can't be tanked. This is one of the reasons Heirad dies first.

Dark Relief: Heirad's unique buff. Dealing damage to Heirad heals Kel'Sara. This is the another reason you burn Heirad first.

Death Covenant: All 3 bosses have this, it's simply a buff that makes it so there's no chance at burning all the bosses at the same time. Any damage you to do the other two is pointless when this guy is alive, he'll heal them up when he dies. This cannot be ranged out of, it's just simply there and you deal with it.

What he does:

Force Lightning: This is the main ability he does. It hits 3 people in the raid, seemingly random, and never anyone who has aggro on the other two (so tanks are fine). This is his filler attack.

Surging Chain: At some point in the fight Heirad will start to cast Surging Chain. This is announced to the raid in red text. When he does this, Ciphas leaps over near him and channels a shield on him that makes him invincible. The shield is called Empowered Barrier. Surging Chain does damage to the target and chains off to other targets.

Lightning Field: At some point, Ciphas and Kel'Sara will leap over to their original spots and start casting what looks to be Force Lightning on Heirad while he channels what looks to be Force Storm (called Lightning Field in the fight). This is announced to the raid in red text. Lightning starts spiking down from the sky on all players in the raid, doing minimal damage. When the channel ends, each player explodes, taking damage and doing damage to those around them. The fight then returns to normal.


What he's buffed with:

Boss Immunity: This one is obvious but I'm putting it here anyways. They all have this, every boss in every Op in the game has this pretty much, we all know what it does. Can't CC em or knock em round.

Dark Pact: Ciphas's unique buff that makes Heirad do more damage as Ciphas takes damage. The reason you kill Heirad first.

Death Covenant: Like I said above, they all have this, but I wanted to rewrite my description. Any damage you do to Kel'Sara when killing Ciphas is pointless as Kel'Sara will be healed to full when Ciphas dies.

What he does in general:

Gored: This is a debuff he puts on the tank he is targeting. It stacks, and makes it so that his damage over time effect, Bleeding, does more damage per stack. This is why you must tank swap, anything over 5 stacks and the Bleeding is going to be too much to heal.

Bleeding: This is the DoT mentioned above. It does more damage depending on how many stacks of Gored you have. I'll try to get specific numbers as soon as I can. Can't be dispelled.

Cleave: Not really a name for it, it's just something he does often. Make sure the raid stays away from his front and be careful if he has to be drug through the raid when tank switching or after Empowered Barrier.

What he does in Phase 1 only:

Empowered Barrier: At certain points in phase 1 (still waiting on confirmation of whether its time based or % based) Ciphas will leap to one of the original positions and start channeling Empowered Barrier on Heirad. This makes Heirad take no damage. When he does this, Ciphas himself gains a buff called Dread Barrier, which absorbs damage and makes him immune to interrupts. The shield is similar to a Sorc/Sage bubble, once you do enough damage, it goes away, and he can be interrupted. As soon as he is, the fight proceeds as normal.

Lightning Field: As said in Heirad's section, Ciphas and Kel'Sara leap over to their starting positions and start channeling something (animation looks like Force Lightning) on Heirad. This mechanic runs it's course and then Ciphas becomes tankable again as the fight returns to normal. It's important to note here that Ciphas seems to always leap to the side opposite of where he's being tanked. He starts on the left when you pull, if you tank him on the left of the arena, he seems to leap to the right, if you tank him on the right, he'll leap to the left.

What he does in Phase 2 only:

Strangle: Essentially Force Choke, Ciphas will leap to a random member of the raid and start channeling Strangle on them. This is announced to the raid in red text. This does serious damage to the member and needs to be interrupted as soon as possible. He turns back to the tank when he gets interrupted.

Doom: Ciphas will randomly put Doom on one member of the raid. This is announced by red text to the raid. It is a debuff that has 4 stacks. Throughout Phase 2 green circles called Expiatory Motes will be spawning on members of the raid. The animation for this is two white orbs appear around the person the circle will spawn under and the person gets a debuff that starts ticking down. When the debuff ticks off, the circle spawns. Walking into one of these circles without Doom will put a DoT on you that ticks for roughly 2-3k on non tanks, turns the target green, and consumes the circle. Walking into one with Doom will remove one stack of Doom and will not give you the extra DoT. If Doom is not dispelled by walking into the Expiatory Motes, Doom will explode, doing roughly 14 million damage to the target. We believe the reason for this doing so much damage is so that Marauders/Sentinels can't use the 99% damage reduction CD to avoid dying.


What she's buffed with:

Boss Immunity: This one is obvious but I'm putting it here anyways. They all have this, every boss in every Op in the game has this pretty much, we all know what it does. Can't CC em or knock em round.

Unshakable: Another common one but worth mentioning, this boss can't be interrupted.

Death Covenant: This time it's kind of pointless, the other 2 will be dead when you go to kill this one, but it's there and you know what it does. It's presence prevents you from doing anything out of the ordinary kill order-wise.

Dark Bond: Kel'Sara's unique buff, damaging her makes Ciphas do more damage. This is there to prevent you from killing her before Ciphas. In a min/max situation, tanks would want to do as little damage as possible to hold threat so that Ciphas gains as little benefit from this as possible.

What she does in general:

Pulverized: The stacking debuff that Kel'Sara gives to the tank she has aggro on. Again, the reason for the tank switch. This increases the damage of the damage over time effect that Kel'Sara applies. Anything over 5 stacks is going to be too much to handle.

Crushed: The DoT that Kel'Sara applies to the tank that she has aggro on. Talked about above. As with Bleeding, I'l try to get specific numbers when I can. Can't be dispelled.

What she does in Phase 1 only:

Lightning Field: Same as the other two explanations, just putting it here to be uniform. She leaps to the side that Ciphas doesn't, it could be different than where she starts, it could be the same, depends on Ciphas.

What she does in Phase 2 only:

Nothing is different here. She no longer does Lightning Field once Heirad dies, and will do nothing but apply the tank debuff and dot until phase 3. All she does is make the tanks have to pay attention and tank swap correctly, other than that she does nothing different.

What she does in Phase 3 only:

Withering Terror: A DoT that Kel'Sara places on members of the raid. We didn't get to test exactly what the range on this DoT is, but we do believe that ranged dps and healers can avoid it by being far enough away. We also didn't get to test exactly how many went out at once, but we know it was more than one when enough people were in range. Can't be dispelled.

Death Mark: This is announced to the raid in red text. Kel'Sara chooses a member of the raid at random and puts a slow on them, and then chases after them slowly. This is indicated by a green beam connecting the member of the raid and Kel'Sara. If Kel'Sara reaches her target, she will kill them in 1 shot. If she doesn't reach her target in 20 seconds the slow falls off and the fight resumes as normal.

Force Leech: Kel'Sara will cast Force Leech on the tank at some points. This is announced to the raid in red text. This lasts 20 seconds. It reduces all healing received by 99% and "leeches" health off the target to heal Kel'Sara if the target is healed.

Dread Guard Legionnaires: Periodically Kel'Sara will spawn adds called Dread Guard Legionnaires. This is announced to the raid in red text. 6 of them spawn at a time, and they have very low health. They will attack healers usually due to healing aggro being the first thing they receive.



We also 3 tanked this fight. It will make the DPS check a little bit harder but for a raid in full 61s+augments we don't think it will be much of a problem. 3 tanking this fight will help healing immensely. The only difference for between 2 and 3 tanks is that with 2 tanks you'll need to tank switch around 5 stacks instead of 3. The important thing to watch out for throughout the entire fight is your own and your fellow tanks' debuffs and the position of the bosses. This is true for every boss but since it's the main point of the fight here it's even more true for this fight.

How to switch the bosses:

Heirad is untankable and never moves. Tanks shouldn't worry about him at all. Ciphas cleaves, and leaps to his target. Tanks can pull him from a distance because he will leap to them. Kel'Sara walks all the way to his target. This switch should be done by switching the bosses, not the tanks. Kel'Sara tank would taunt Ciphas, as he leaps over the previous Ciphas tank would taunt Kel'Sara and she would walk over. This gives you a little breathing room for healers to catch up on the new Kel'Sara tank. 2 tanks should switch right as one of them, whoever it is first, gets 5 stacks. If you are 3 tanking, then have your 3rd tank taunt Kel'Sara while standing where the Kel'Sara tank was, and have that tank go over and taunt Ciphas where the Ciphas tank was. The Ciphas tank now becomes the 3rd tank and will be the next tank to taunt Kel'Sara. Doing this makes no tank ever be above 3 stacks and the healing is easier. These switch mechanics stay true through phase 1 and 2 and is all you will be worrying about. In phase 1, when they go leap to Heirad for the Lightning Field mechanic, this is an opportune time to take advantage of a free switch and take the one who's debuff you currently don't have. This is the recommended boss positioning for phase 1.

Dealing with Ciphas in Phase 2:

Ciphas leaps around a lot in phase 2. DPS should be able to interrupt Strangle, but it's easy to leap to him to interrupt him. Assassins/Shadows can sprint in and interrupt and then pull Ciphas back to where you decide to tank him. Kel'Sara is just a tank and spank, switching when necessary. Both tanks need to be aware of who is going to spawn a Expiatory Mote and make sure you drag the boss away so that it doesn't spawn right on top of you or the melee and get absorbed when it's not supposed to be. Other than this, make sure your switches are spot on and no one is getting cleaved by Ciphas in phase 2 and you're golden. The rest of it is healers and DPS's jobs. This is the recommended boss positioning for phase 2.

Dealing with Kel'Sara in Phase 3:

Tank switches are still going on in this phase. With only one boss, 2 tanks can pull the "taunt as soon as your stacks drop" to keep the stacks as low as possible to help with healing. Her Force Leech hurts, bad. Most likely you won't be topped off, and any hots on you will kill you usually. Any health-giving tank CDs will kill you as well, such as Endure Pain or a Medpac. The second you see Kel'Sara casting it, have the or another tank taunt off you as soon as possible. Yell out your name to tell them to stop healing you, you might be at not full health but as long as you're not receiving healing you should be fine. This is how the first one must always be handled. The rest of the Force Leech casts happen shortly after Kel'Sara finishes chasing someone with Death Mark. When she gets done with Death Mark, she will automatically re-target the tank she had been on. You can make sure you're on the other side of the arena, and if done correctly, she will start casting Force Leech before she reaches you. Because of this, the healers can be ready and make sure you're topped off before the cast goes out, and another tank can taunt during the cast. Other than avoiding the remaining Expiatory Motes and watching for the Force Leech, there's not much else you need to do. The Dread Guard Legionnaires die so fast we didn't have our tanks worry about them, everyone was grouped so AoE-ing them was easy. This is the recommended boss positioning for phase 3.


Healing on this fight in 16 man is hard. Our healers were giving us serious feedback that this was the most healing intensive fight they had healed in 5+ months. One of our healers equated the healing on the tanks, both tanks in phase 1 and 2 and the one tanking Kel'Sara in phase 3 to healing Kephess in his final phase. Kel'Sara hits harder than Ciphas, which we assume is to make up for Kel'Sara's lack of mechanics in phase 1 and 2. Healers are not Jesus. Healers are not meant to save people from their own stupidity. You're going to be better off yelling at your raid to stop getting the DoT from standing in the Expiatory Motes when you don't have Doom than you are trying to heal them through it. The tanks are going to need to be pumped constantly, and AoE heals for the raid are going to need to be taken advantage of. A Sorc/Sage is almost 100% required for the ground heal for the raid. Watch out for Ciphas when he leaps to Strangle. The person with Doom needs to be watched as they dispell it. Other than these things, healing comes down to how good are you at managing your resources and keep constant heals going to the tanks which will spike constantly. The last thing to pay attention to is when your tank is yelling at you to not heal them. This is something that you're probably not used to, seeing a tank at not-full health and not doing anything about it, but 1 heal from you can kill them if they're low enough. Learn the fight well enough so you can get a feel for when Force Leech is about to go out, and you can be prepared to stop when called and to make sure you don't have any extra HoTs ticking.

To quote one of own healers:
Quote: Originally Posted by sang View Post
I would like to add two notes about healing this fight:

1. Healing Composition

Aoroc already mentioned that it very beneficial to be carrying at least one Sorc/Sage for their AoE heal. Since the majority of this fight is predicated on effective tank healing, however, I would not recommend stacking Sorc/Sages. My ideal/recommended healing composition would look something like this:

  1. Sorcerer
  2. Operative
  3. Operative/Bounty Hunter
  4. Operative/Bounty Hunter/Sorcerer

Having at least one Operative is extremely useful as I feel they have the potential for the most output in a longer window of time due to their energy mechanic. I know a lot of Operatives struggle with energy management, but when played correctly, you will notice significantly better tank healing for the resources and time duration. Finally, it doesn't hurt to have a stealth revive available in case Ciphas switches targets or someone in your raid goofs and dies to Expiatory Mote. For the third slot I would take a second tank healer, thus another Operative or Bounty Hunter, and the final spot is a bit more flexible. Overall, I feel this healing setup provides the necessary raid healing without compromising tank healing. Make no mistake, 3/4 or more of the healing in this fight is constant tank healing. If you have a 2-4 Sorc/Sages who are too AoE heal puddle happy, your tanks will die.

2. Healing Assignments

Assigning specific healers to primary heal a particular tank is something I highly recommend. The effect this had on our raid was instantaneously noticeable from the previous attempt where we didn't have set healing assignments and made the fight easier. I recommend picking healing assignments by boss instead of the individual tank. Example: Healer A's primary heal target is the tank on Ciphas while Healer B's primary heal target is the tank on Kel'Sara. This does not mean each healer shouldn't heal the other's tank or raid members, but rather that those are their primary healing target. Additionally, because the tanks switch bosses often, healers will have to be paying attention that they don't stay healing a tank who has moved to a boss they weren't assigned to primary heal. Ideally though, healers should be positioned on one end of a triangle to Ciphas and Kel'Sara to reach both tanks at all times. This setup looks something like this.

This assignment works best with the composition recommendation I listed above where you have at least two strong tank healers (Operative and Bounty Hunter) on separate tanks and a Sorc/Sage + fourth healer as second tank healers. Here is the healing assignment we used with our healing composition at the time (Op + Op + Sorc + Sorc):

Ciphas Tank ---> Operative 1 + Sorcerer 2
Kel'Sara Tank ---> Operative 2 + Sorcerer 1

How you use healing assignments is up to you. As mentioned, some people would probably find it easier to assign healers based on tank instead of boss. The most important thing I can recommend though is to make sure you have at least 1 strong tank healer (Operative or Bounty Hunter) on each tank.

In the end this was a fantastic fight to heal and made me miss playing a healer in operations. Hope this helps those who might struggle with finding the right healing setup.

*Take all of this with a grain of salt. We were in sub-par gear than the fight is designed for, very few of our healers had augments and some didn't even have full 61s, nor did our tanks have augments. This is simply the description of what we dealt with in the gear we were in.*


DPS is something you should know. DPS is simple, you DPS. What you want to watch out for in this fight is when you use your cooldowns. We had all our DPS burn all their cooldowns right at the start, burning everything they had nto Heirad. This will help you kill him before he does 2 Lightning Fields. Your cooldowns should be used off cooldowns to ensure you beat the enrage, there is no need to save them for any specific place. When Ciphas channels Empowered Barrier in phase 1, switch to him and burn away his shield, when it's gone, interrupt him and get back on Heirad. Where you stand will determine if you kill this boss. You MUST make sure you do not stand in any unnecessary Expiatory Motes, this adds SO much unnecessary damage to the raid that it will be the downfall of your attempt. Stand in the purple/yellow circles you see on the ground, those are your healing circles and your healers will thank you for making sure you're in them. If you have an interrupt, use it when Ciphas leaps to Strangle. Stay focused on your target and be smart about your surroundings. You know, simple raid 101 stuff.

Kill Strategy:

Phase 1:

Tanks switch when they need to. DPS are all on Heirad. Healers really only need to pay attention to the tanks. Sometime around 70% Ciphas will jump over and start channeling Empowered Barrier on Heirad, making him invincible. At this point all DPS should switch over and burn the Dread Barrier off of Ciphas and interrupt him, then get back on Heirad. When Heirad starts channeling Lightning Field around 1 minute into the fight, and Ciphas and Kel'Sara leap over and start channeling to him, everyone should spread apart. We had our 16 man raid split into the 4 corners of the map, 4 people in each. Ranged DPS were in the groups closer to the doors and the Melee were in the front so that DPS could continue on Heirad in this phase. You will want to keep DPSing during this phase if you have any doubts about your ability to beat the enrage. We didn't even beat it on our kill, we had about 3% left and killed it during. Granted this was sub-par gear, but the point holds true. Rinse/repeat until Heirad dies.

Phase 2:

Watch for Expiatory Motes. Don't waste them, in HM the person who gets Doom will have 4 stacks and will die if they cannot dispel them all. Standing in them is unnecessary raid damage anyways if you don't have Doom. Most everything is announced in red text to the raid, nothing should really surprise you even on your first attempts into the phase. All this phase is made of is execution. Execution is the keyword here. Tanks be on spot with tank swaps, healers keep everyone good, DPS keep burning and everyone have exceptional raid awareness and rinse and repeat the Doom/Strangle until Ciphas dies.

Phase 3:

This is the last leg. The final stand. Execution continues to be the name of the game, once understood the mechanics don't require a college degree to perform against. If you are marked for death, run, instantly. Stop your cast, stop your everything and move in the opposite direction. A Sorc/Sage grip can save you from death if you fail to move soon enough, but it shouldn't be needed. You need to stay moving until the Death Mark drops. DPS need to be ready to AoE the adds when they come out, and everyone should stack to make this easier. Your tanks have enough going on already, they shouldn't bother tanking these adds. They should die before they even get a chance to do anything really. Expiatory Motes are left over from Phase 2, avoid them. They are pointless now. Their only purpose is to kill you. Healers and tanks need to be coordinated and ready to deal with Force Leech. Other than this, it's all about execution. Use your brain and focus correctly, and you'll send these Dread Guards back home to their loved ones with a flag over their coffin.

Personal Thoughts:

I liked this fight. Phase fights turn me on, and this did a good job of getting the nerd raider in me aroused. Fun mechanics, fun to learn, still not overly complicated for a pug raid or for a newer guild. I understand that a certain level of the difficulty we experienced with this was from our gear, but our gear wasn't THAT bad overall. I would like to see the challenge we encountered in Campaign/Rakata gear be given to a full Campaign+augment raid. I think the level of difficulty we encountered is the level the fight should be for the gear it was designed for. This holds true for The Writhing Horror as well. A fun fight, a well designed fight in my opinion, and there isn't much else to discuss except for maybe increasing the difficulty a little bit for a higher geared raid.

Bugs Encountered:

A member of the guild can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe we encountered no bugs with this fight. The only thing that we're unsure of is that on some pulls, Ciphas would change targets seemingly unprovoked, and only right after he had been interrupted from channeling Empowered Barrier. I'm not sure if this is a bug, or the fact that he didn't do it every pull is a bug. It didn't happen more than it did, but when it did it pushed us close to a wipe every time. I would have Kel'Sara, a fellow tank would have Ciphas. When Ciphas would leap over to channel Empowered Barrier on Heirad, the fellow tank would taunt Kel'Sara off of me, the transition would go smooth and nothing happened out of the ordinary. I would then walk over and wait for Ciphas's shield to fall off, interrupt him and taunt him in the same second, and start dragging him away. When the taunt would drop, or a few seconds after, Ciphas would leap to a random person. Most times it was the fellow tank who he'd been on before, but not always. Sometimes it would even be a healer who should have hardly any aggro at all, certainly not more than a tank. This only happened every so often, but it did happen on our kill. Just something for the devs to know.

A special thanks to Thrills for help on the tool-tips and pictures, and Sang for the healing write up.

That's all folks, hope this helps anyone now or at live (will be saving the post) and I hope you liked it. Please let me know if I got anything typo'd or messed up or wrong, and I will edit, if you have any questions, feel free to ask, comment, good or bad anything you want to yell at me, and keep an eye out for my guide of Operator IX when we get that down on 16 man Hard. Anyone interested in our guild or watching our raids, you can find all relative info at

Edit: I originally had the Expiatory Motes listed under the Phase 3 mechanics of Kel'Sara, but was corrected by a raid member that these only spawn in Phase 2 of the fight, the ones in Phase 3 are just left over from Phase 2. I took it out of the mechanics for Kel'Sara, and I believe I've fixed the post accordingly. Anywhere else I reference Expiatory Motes spawning in Phase 3 is false. My apologies for the small mistake.
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin