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16 man HM Terror from Beyond - Fight Explanations/Strategies

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Flashpoints, Operations, and Heroic Missions
16 man HM Terror from Beyond - Fight Explanations/Strategies

Craxim's Avatar


Craxim
09.14.2012 , 02:08 PM | #1
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: http://twitch.tv/thrillsckn

DPS POV: http://twitch.tv/scorpiux

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


I'm going to separate the fight into mechanics section, role section, and then re-explain it as a whole with a strategy section. The fight is generally like most SWTOR Operation fights seem to be, a rinse and repeat of the same mechanics with focus on execution. This guide is for 16 man, and the numbers/explanations are for such. If something is different for 8 man, I personally am not aware. I don't know the official names of all mechanics, they will be described in detail either way.

First off, this is The Writhing Horror, for anyone who doesn't know. Second off, even though this boss will impregnate the tank at some point, we do believe it is somewhat female, as the "Jealous Male" comes out to defend his "Mate". This was only actually realized when I was almost done writing the post, which is why sometimes I say her/she and sometimes I say him/he. Maybe the boss is both, who knows, my apologies in advance to any lore picky person out there who catches that.

General Info (The early TL;DR): 5:45 second hard enrage, soft enrage mechanic at 10% health, spawns adds, moves around room on it's own, applies a raid DoT. Kill video here.

Mechanics:

Angry Spittle: The boss has separation anxiety. Or she gets lonely. Not sure, all we do know is that if the target she has aggro on is not in melee range, she will spit AoE damage on the raid. This damage is called Angry Spittle in the combat logs. The animation for this looks like multiple spitballs, grayish in color, being spat in a cone. Even though this looks to be a cone, it does hit the entire raid.

Burrowing: The boss cannot be moved (by you). The only way the boss moves is on his own, by burrowing into the ground and popping up somewhere else. There are 5 set spots he will ever be, and the pattern is the exact same. Watching it closely once or twice will allow you to know exactly where the boss will go next, the pattern never changes. The first burrow happens 20 seconds into the fight, and then on a regular 45 second interval between burrows the rest of the fight.

Corrosive Slime: This is a debuff that the boss puts on random member of the raid. The animation for this mechanic is the same as the Angry Spittle mechanic, except it is only one spitball instead of multiple, and is larger. He turns quickly to spit at one person, yet her Target of Target never switches off the tank. It ticks for 7-8k every 2 seconds or so, lasts 60 seconds, and can be dispelled. If dispelled, a green pool/circle of what looks to be poison or vomit is left behind where the person was standing. This AoE also ticks for 7-8k if stood in and disappears after roughly 45 seconds. We noticed that many of our members were having a hard time seeing the circles as they are in green in color and dropped on a green terrain. Many of the circles plain weren't showing up completely based on what our members were saying, and we were able to verify this through streams/screenshots.

Incubation/Calming Pheromones/Jealous Male/Foul Offspring:

This is a 4 part mechanic that is the main mechanic of the fight. I will explain it in the same order that the names are in.
I fused them all into one because they all interact with each other and happen roughly around the same time.


PART 1) Incubation: The boss stacks a debuff on the tank he has aggro on called Incubation. The tool-tip describes it as "You have been implanted with young larva!", I describe it as a lack of understanding personal boundaries. This is an interesting mechanic, as other than playing a role in the next mechanic, doesn't seem to have too much importance. The reason I say this is because whatever attack it is that puts the debuff on the tank can be avoided by defense chance, which means the number this stacks too each time will vary. You will get some amount of stacks however, unless you get insanely lucky. The stack amount was as low as 3 at one point, as high as 7 or 8 before it takes effect. If the Jealous Male (explained below) attacks the tank with this debuff, or if this debuff falls off (through time or through death), adds are spawned named Foul Offspring (explained below) and the debuff goes away.

PART 2) Calming Pheromones: This is a red pool (not reticle, it looks like liquid) that spawns on the ground, in one of 3 different locations randomly. The pool spawns out of a flower/group of flowers on the ground. The pool spawns just seconds before the Jealous Male spawns.The purpose of this is to attract the Foul Offspring when they spawn. When a person stands in this, they get a buff called Calming Pheromones. The act of standing in the pheromones is announced to the raid in bold red text and gives a buff that attracts all Foul Offspring to attack the person who stood in the Pheromones, the person who has this buff. The mechanic is called calming for a reason, the adds to very little damage to the person who gains this buff, allowing any member of the raid to perform this act. When you leave the pool, you gain a debuff called Stale Pheromones that lasts the rest of the encounter. Simply put it states that you can't gain the previous buff again for the rest of the fight, and standing in a pool from there on out will damage you instead of giving you the buff. This stays on and is harmless (unless you stand in the pool again) until the boss dies. Leaving the pool removes the buff, and since you are unable to enter again, allows the Foul Offspring to run rampant. Only one person may gain the buff that attracts the Foul Offspring per Calming Pheromones pool.

PART 3) Jealous Male: The is a medium size add that looks like a worm/insect, sort of like a mini version of the boss itself. This add knocks back occasionally, and spawns on a set timer. It's spawn is announced to the raid in bold red text. The knock back is a cleave, and if anyone else is in front of it other than its target, that person or those people get knocked back as well. The first one spawns 45 seconds into the fight, the other 3 (the bosses hard enrage is very close after the 4th Jealous Male) spawn every 1 minute and 30 seconds after the one before it. If this add attacks a target with the Incubation debuff, it will spawn Foul Offspring, one for ever stack, right near the tank. Other than having health, doing moderate but not heavy damage, knocking back occasionally, and spawning Foul Offspring when attacking a target with Incubation, this add is tank and spank.

PART 4) Foul Offspring: This is the small add that spawns from the Incubation debuff. There is nothing special about it except that it dies relatively fast due to its low health pool, does quite a bit of damage (when multiple are hitting the same target, the target was extremely hard to heal, unless the target had the Calming Pheromones buff) and can be tanked from the Calming Pheromones buff as mentioned above.

(HARD MODE ONLY) Twisted Spawn: This is another medium size add that starts spawning when the boss reaches 10% health. The Writhing Horror will spawn these adds continuously until either you or it dies. It was hard to be sure, but we believe they spawned every 3 seconds. These adds have 3 buffs. The first buff is called Stalwart, which makes it immune to CCs and movement impairing effects. The second buff is called Mindless which states that it changes targets frequently. The third and last buff is called Mutated which states that the Twisted Spawn can mutate nearby larvae on death. The Twisted Spawn does a cast called Spit, which gives the target 1 stack of Acidic Corrosion. This is (we believe) a DoT effect that can stack. This add also gives 1 stack of a buff to The Writhing Horror. We believe this to be some sort of soft enrage mechanic, we weren't able to get pictures of the tool-tip to read what it did while writing this guide. We are fairly certain however that when the buff reaches 20, The Writhing Horror goes into some form of soft-enrage. We do know that letting it reach 20 is bad. It's one of those things where we don't exactly know what it does and we don't want to stick around to find out, we'd rather kill it. As soon as I am sure of what exactly it is, I will come back and update the guide.

Roles:

Tanks:

We 3 tanked this fight. This was due to the fact that we were not copied over and were simply using characters from the 1.3 copy. This put a limitation on what we could do with composition. The fight seems designed for 2 tanks, and I would certainly recommend using 2 if you are having DPS issues for the enrage, but having 3 didn't pull us down at all really. The tanks have arguably the most important job in the fight. Whoever pulls the boss is the first tank that will receive Incubation stacks. There are always 2 burrows in between the add spawns, except for the first one, which will happen after the first burrow, when the boss is in position 2. When the red text announces that the Jealous Male has spawned, the second tank should taunt The Writhing Horror. The first tank that has the Incubation stacks should then immediately target and and taunt the Jealous Male. It will cleave you when it gets to you, so make sure you're ready for this, and not near anybody else so that no one else gets cleaved. I separated the add phase into 2 different methods below.

3 Tank Method
There are a two ways the next part can be performed. If you do have a 3rd tank, you can have the 3rd tank taunt the Jealous Male as soon as the Foul Offspring spawn and the first tank can then run into the Calming Pheromones circle or you can have the 3rd tank run into the Calming Pheromones circle as soon as the Foul Offspring spawn and the first tank can proceed to continue tanking the Jealous Male. The idea here is that you don't want one person/tank to be tanking the Jealous Male AND be standing in the Calming Pheromones at the same time. If this happens, the Jealous Male will perform its knock back before the Foul Offspring have been killed, the person in the Calming Pheromones will lose their buff to tank the Offspring, and the Offspring will run rampant around the raid, most likely causing a wipe. Since there are only 3 tanks and 4 Jealous Males phases to deal with, we had a healer deal with the very first one, when there wasn't much going on and she would still be able to heal and do the mechanic comfortably. When you have your 4th person stand in the Pheromones and who it is is up to your raid, but we advise using a healer first to make it easy and to not lose any DPS time.

2 Tank Method
The 2 tank method is simpler for the tanks really, the first tank would get the Incubation stacks, the second tank would taunt the boss, the first tank would then taunt the Jealous Male and tank it. When the Foul Offspring spawned, a healer or dps (preferably ranged) would stand in the Pheromones until the adds are dead. You'd have a set 4 people prepared to stand in the Pheromones, and you'd rinse and repeat during this mechanic.

That's the whole fight for tanks, rinse and repeat it. Make sure someones always tanking the boss and is in melee range, make sure someone is tanking the Jealous Male and not letting it cleave the raid, and make sure someone (tank or otherwise) is standing in the Pheromones until the Foul Offspring are dead. A side note, it seems almost unavoidable to prevent the boss from performing 1 of his Angry Spittle after he burrows. Try as we might, our tanks were only able to prevent it once or twice, even when the tank had been there as the boss was still coming out of the ground.

Healers:

We 4 healed this fight. Healing is pretty straight forward, but watch the tank that's tanking the boss closely, especially if you're in not BiS gear. Our tanks were getting thoroughly hit and needed constant attention in full Campaign without augments. It shouldn't be a problem as long as the raid does its job and doesn't purposely take 7-8k damage a second from standing in circles they shouldn't be. People shouldn't take much raid damage aside from the 1 unavoidable Angry Spittle or their own lack of raid awareness from standing or walking through green circles on the ground. The main damage is the constant tank damage, and any damage the Corrosive Slime does. This DoT ticks hard, and you want to dispel it fast. The trick is to make sure you're not dropping green circles on the raid though, how we did this is explained in more detail below. Only 1 person ever gets the debuff at a time, and it should become blatantly obvious the second a random person is at half health instantly. Healing will get stressed in the last 10%, which is a burn phase where everyone ignores all the adds out (there will be plenty of them) and burns the boss. Everyone will have aggro on all the various adds, this phase doesn't last long but will be a test to see if your healing can last just long enough for the dps to do their job and get the kill.

DPS:

We had 9 DPS for this fight, 2 melee and 7 ranged. Melee (as always) have the obvious disadvantage of having to move between targets, in doing so they have to pay attention more to where green circles are on the ground to make sure they don't run through them. Melee (or anybody really) should pay close attention to where the flowers that spawn the Calming Pheromones are, and not to be standing on top of them at any time. Doing so risks giving yourself the Pheromone buff unwillingly, and could put a large damper in your strategy, especially if said person freaks out and tries to run out, throwing away the one buff you get to easily tank the Foul Offspring for that phase. Wasting the buff is pretty much a wipe, so pay attention to where you are standing. Your DPS priority depends on where you are in the fight, but a general rule of thumb is Foul Offspring > Jealous Male > The Writhing Horror. Kill the adds when they come out, kill the bigger add next, and then get back on the boss. Easy stuff. Don't stand in green circles, and be nowhere near the raid when you get dispelled. More on that below. When the boss gets to 10%, you ignore everything else except where you are standing (don't kill yourself when you need to burn!) and you BURN! This is your time to shine, beat the monster back into the ground before it does the same to you. We were running semi-close to the enrage timer (not an issue after we were organized). The enrage is only an issue is you aren't ready to focus at 10%. If you are, you should be fine.

Kill Strategy:

The video, located here, is a good way to see the strategy in action to help understand what I'm talking about. Unfortunately it is from a melee perspective, not from a ranged, if you want to see a healers perspective, you can see it here. The kill starts at 2:29:34. The trick to downing this boss is 2 things. First off, coordination of your tanks to correctly deal with the add spawns in a timely matter, and the coordination of your raid to place green circles in a place that is of the least harm to your raid. The way we went about doing the latter of the two is the important part of this section, the tanks can read the tank section to better understand their role. The way we did this was we put a mark on top of one of our healers, and told all other healers and ranged DPS to stack on her. We assigned a specific healer to dispels, and made it her job to watch for the Corrosive Slime and to call it. When a person's name was called, the person would run out of the stack, preferably to the area the boss was last at (as this would be the area that the boss would be the furthest from reaching again) and be dispelled, making sure the circle had been dropped (sometimes it lagged a second or so) before returning to the stack. It is important to not drop the circles in a place where the melee/tank has to be around the boss, not in a place the melee or the tank is going to be very soon (i.e. if you are tanking at position 2, don't drop a circle in position 3 where the boss is going to burrow to in 10 seconds) and not on top of any of the flowers that will spawn the Calming Pheromones. It took some pulls to really nail down everyone's understanding of exactly what's going on when and how to react, but once we did, we pulled it together for a (almost) clean kill. When the boss reaches 10%, the way we handled this was as follows. We still had our 4th assigned person stand in the Pheromones to attract the Offspring, we still had the second tank pick up and point away from the raid the Jealous Male, but we ignored them. The Offspring won't do much damage, the Twisted Spawns are untankable due to the changing targets, they spawn too fast to kill, killing them mutates the nearby Offspring anyways, and with every Twisted Spawn that arrives you get 1 stack closer to the Soft Enrage. This is the place to put it all on the line, just burn it for the kill. A well focused, fully Campaign raid that has 10 dps (if you are 2 tanking it like it was designed to be) should have no problems as long as you focus. There isn't much else about the strategy. There is really only 2 mechanics, manage the DoT, and manage the adds, rinse and repeat until kill. Just like FB&SC of HM EC, it's all about execution. How many times can you do the same thing before you mess up. That's the fight.

Personal Thoughts:

These are my personal thoughts about the fight, I don't want to misrepresent anyone from my guild, these are my opinions alone and are not necessarily shared or not shared by anyone else in the raid. I feel that for a first fight, the difficulty is pretty close to spot on. The mechanics aren't too overly complicated, they were fun to figure out, and I like that even though it isn't Einstein complicated, overall the mechanics are pretty unforgiving for a raid in progression or sub-progression gear. Miss a Pheromone pool, pretty much a wipe, lose a member or two that you can't get back up (this might be different for 10 DPS or fully augmented DPS) you pretty much need to wipe. One of our first attempts we thought everything was going smoothly, and we hit hard enrage at 17%. After not seeing an enrage timer after 5 months, it was fun to feel that kind of temporary failure again for a change, to feel that need to push ourselves. Would I mind if they made it a little harder? Not really, no. Would I mind if they left it as is? Not really, no. I think for a first fight, it's intuitive for BWs past standards, it runs pretty smoothly overall, and is a great introduction to the raid as a whole.

Encountered Bugs

1. Not being able to see green circles at all.
2. Being able to see the green texture of the circle, but not the green shine that was supposed to make it obvious. Green circles on a green ground while everyone is dropping green Imp logo's on the ground while raining Force Lightning kind of made it hard to see the darn circles.
3. Certain members had issues with not being able to see their debuff at first for the Corrosive Slime DoT, as in, the square debuff would be on their player frame but would be see through, nothing in the square, no tool-tip or icon.
4. Being able to parry stacks of the Incubation debuff (not sure if intended).
5. Standing in a Pheromone pool while tanking the Jealous Male but before having the stacks drop and the adds spawn was preventing the tank from getting the Pheromone buff at all (not sure if intended). To clarify, Jealous Male spawns, tank with Incubation taunts it and runs into the Pheromone pool, Jealous Male hits and spawns the Foul Offspring, yet nothing happens and the buff is unconsumed, even after running out and back in, the buff remains unable to be consumed for the tank that walked in with Incubation.

Message to the devs: Hopefully you see this and take this and all my future guides into account the next time you choose "special guilds" to get copied over for testing purposes. Some of us try really hard to help you and the community as a whole and were frankly offended when it pretty much looked like we were being told it wasn't enough.

A special thanks to Thrills and Scorps for the streams/picture help.

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 The Dread Guard when we get that down on 16 man Hard (crossing fingers for tomorrow night). Anyone interested in our guild or watching our raids, you can find all relative info at www.calikillednox.com.
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin

Craxim's Avatar


Craxim
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: http://twitch.tv/thrillsckn

DPS POV: http://twitch.tv/scorpiux

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.

Mechanics:

Heirad:

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.


Ciphas:

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.

Kel'Sara:

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.

Roles:

Tanks:

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.

Healers:

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:

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 www.calikillednox.com.

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.
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Craxim
09.14.2012 , 02:09 PM | #3
Reserved for when I can finish the Operator IX post.

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: http://twitch.tv/thrillsckn

DPS POV: http://twitch.tv/scorpiux
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Craxim
09.14.2012 , 02:09 PM | #4
Reserved for when I can finish the Kephess the Undying post.

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: http://twitch.tv/thrillsckn

DPS POV: http://twitch.tv/scorpiux
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin

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Craxim
09.14.2012 , 02:10 PM | #5
Reserved for when we kill the Terror from Beyond.

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: http://twitch.tv/thrillsckn

DPS POV: http://twitch.tv/scorpiux
Aoroc Jugg Tank -||- Maul Tankasin

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Craxim
09.15.2012 , 06:45 PM | #6
Jesse Sky (Lead Flashpoint/Operation Designer) told us this today.

Quote:
You should know that Operator IX is going to be impossible in 16m hard until the new PTS build on Monday. The data cores have twice the intended HP in that specific mode.
This would explain why we haven't killed Operator IX yet. Will be fixed Monday, so we should get it then.
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DoitiEtok
09.16.2012 , 05:31 PM | #7
My only question about this, I have a friend who is colorblind. How accessible will this Op be to him. Is there anything that will completely prohibit him from entering?

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Craxim
09.16.2012 , 07:48 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by DoitiEtok View Post
My only question about this, I have a friend who is colorblind. How accessible will this Op be to him. Is there anything that will completely prohibit him from entering?
There have been many posts made to the devs about this on the PTS forums. They haven't responded. I personally believe something will be done about this. The only boss that he'd be prohibited from is the 3rd boss, Operator IX. This is the puzzle boss that deals with colors.
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Craxim
09.18.2012 , 02:43 PM | #9
Guide for Operator IX will be up soon hopefully.
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shadowflit
09.19.2012 , 02:45 PM | #10
Thanks for posting this! Has been a good read, and am looking forward to hitting the op