The goal this week is to finish the Siege of Wyrmrest portion of the Dragon Soul raid. Three of the four bosses in this opening segment have been cleared — only one to go. Next up, Hagara the Stormbinder. A friendly reminder that the encounter discussion here is based upon the 10-man normal difficulty version of this raid. If you want to talk Raid Finder, I’d say try it out for yourself. If you want to talk Heroic modes… well, at this rate, I’d say give me a couple weeks.
Hagara and her associated groups of trash mobs are actually fought within the Eye of Eternity, which likely looks familiar to anyone who raided in early in the last expansion as the same location raids once faced Malygos. Don’t worry, that encounter won’t be making a comeback. Instead, players end up here by taking a conveniently-opened portal at the top ofWyrmrestTemple. There’s nothing special inside; only a large, opened-ended platform, seemingly empty upon arrival. Poke the orb in the center to get the ball rolling.
Various waves of trash will emerge from suddenly-appearing portals, as well as Hagara herself, though she’ll stay out of the fights for the time being. Most of the trash here is relatively unthreatening, so long as they don’t take the group by surprise. The biggest tip here is to keep the raid group positioned near the portal they used to enter this area, as it will prevent accidentally engaging the new group of mobs that instantly appears as the previous group falls. Follow kill targets, interrupt when able, and mostly just go to town tearing these guys apart.
Hagara herself, at least, is a bit more interesting. This encounter consists of multiple phases but can be handled by a single tank. First on her list of abilities is Ice Lance, where Hagara will summon three icy crystals that appear in random sections of the room. Each of these crystals will fixate on one person, and begin shooting shards of ice at that player, with each impact causing moderate damage to the target as well as anyone close by. In addition, they will apply a substantial and stacking effect which slows melee attack speeds. The goal here is to prevent these shards from striking a melee player (if the crystal focused on one to begin with) by allowing a caster or other ranged player to step into the crystal’s path. Doing so effectively blocks the shards, which will instead strike whoever stepped into their line of fire. The slowing affect to attack speeds won’t affect casters or hunters, hence this keeps the melee DPS at their maximum efficiency, as well as prevents shards from impacting more than one person when they’re clustered together near Hagara.
Shattered Ice is the next ability, an unavoidable blast that Hagara uses on a random player. The strike inflicts heavy damage and leaves behind a slowing debuff – nothing to be done except heal through it. The last of her direct frost-based abilities is Ice Tomb. Two random players will be targeted with a small blue arrow indicator, and several seconds later, will be blasted and encased in a block of solid ice. The impact itself does no damage, but the player encased will become stunned and continue to take damage each second while they are frozen, and cannot be healed until the ice is shattered. All available DPS need to target these ice blocks immediately, and destroy them in order to free their imprisoned allies. For those being targeted, it’s helpful to run toward Hagara, as becoming frozen in melee range makes it easier for the DPS to switch rapidly to the ice tombs. Don’t worry about catching allies in the icy blast – the tombs affect only the targeted player and no one else.
One last ability, that is primarily the duty of the tank. Frequently Hagara will lash out with Focused Assault, inflicting rapid, heavy damage on her current target. She will be unable to move while attacking in this fashion, however, so just take a couple steps back and move out of her range. She’ll stop attacking and resume her normal set of abilities as soon as she figures out Focused Assault isn’t actually connecting, so I suppose she gets points for one-upping the majority of mobs who simply continue swinging at empty air in this situation.
For the main phase of this encounter, Hagara will make use of all the abilities listed above. However, at set intervals, she will change to one of two possible phases, either a lightning- or frost-based phase. The two phases always alternate back and forth, with the standard phase breaking them up. It’s even possible to take a peak at Hagara’s weapon (which will either spark with lightning or look icy) during the normal phase to figure out which is coming next – might be useful before the first of such phases begins.
First up, the frost phase. When this phase begins, four pillars will appear on the outer ring of the room – all four of these must be destroyed to end this phase. Hagara, meanwhile, will teleport to the center of the ring, protect herself with an invulnerable water shield, and conjure an even more gigantic watery bubble. Players standing inside the bubble will instantly begin drowning, taking heavy damage and having their movement speed slowed, so move rapidly to the outer wall the moment this phase starts up. Lastly, Hagara summons four large trails of ice, which stretch outward from her position, all the way to the outer edge of the area, before slowly moving clockwise around the room. Their initial positions will be directly between the pillars, so the safest move is to rapidly stack on a pillar of choice, then watch for the ice waves before making any quick moves.
Contact with the waves is pretty much a death sentence, as the damage they deal is immense. To add to the fun, larger blocks of ice will rain from the sky, which are marked by giant glowing circles – avoid standing in those, as the damage is equally deadly. Simply continue around the room at a brisk pace, destroying pillars. Just don’t stop too long or an ice wave is likely to sneak up behind you. There is no other damage at all during this phase, so healers can likely get a bit of a break. Anyone who does take damage will, most likely, be killed instantly. Kind of tricky to heal that!
One last note: the moment this phase begins, the ice waves appear in the very center of the room. If Hagara happens to be there (and subsequently, the tank and melee DPS), there’s a good chance the waves will kill off several raiders before they can even see what’s happening. During the encounter, just tank Hagara off to one side, and avoid the center of the ring.
The second of the elemental phases focuses on lightning. Here again Hagara teleports to the center of the ring and remains behind her impervious water shield (no water bubble this time, though). This time, four lightning pillars appear in a circle around the room, as well as a single lightning elemental. The tank needs to drag the elemental to one of the lightning pillars, as when killed, it’ll overload that pillar. Said pillar will then begin to arc lightning toward anyone within 10 yards, causing light damage. Most importantly, though, it gives players a means of overloading the remaining pillars – chain the lightning from one player to the next in a crude bridge toward a second pillar, which will then also overload and begin with its own sparks. The most direct way to accomplish this is to quickly create a line of raiders from one point to the next, and the lightning will rapidly jump down the chain to a new pillar, then repeat the process using the new overloaded pillar as a starting point. Once all four have been overloaded, this phase ends. Note that Hagara will continually deal lightning damage to the raid for as long as this phase lasts, so the quicker it ends, the better.
Regardless of which phase just ended, Hagara will be stunned for the first several seconds of her standard phase, and take additional damage to boot. Once she recovers, however, it’s right back to her normal tricks. Repeat as necessary – she’ll loop through these abilities for the duration of the encounter.
Hagara’s demise signals the end of the Siege of Wyrmrest portion of the Dragon Soul raid, and marks the halfway point for the raid as a whole. Four encounters remain, and they only get more intense from here on out. Next week, we start the march on Deathwing himself.