Tiny Tips for the Zandalari Heroics, part 2

After re-visiting our first Troll raid resurrected from the dead, it’s now time to spend some love and attention to Zul’aman, source of Troll-shaped doohickees and bear-run angst. Most of you who have run this place before will notice not much of anything has changed – in fact, it has become easier in many cases. Again I will be going over the most notable loot for us Shadowpriests, and some tips and tactics regarding the encounters.

Zul’aman

Once home of the renegade Troll warlord Zul’jin, this secret Amani fortress now hides the bulk of Daakara’s  minions and serves as the headquarters of the Zandalari war effort.

Notable loot

Shimmerclaw Band (Ring) – Dropped by Halazzi. One of the few decent items to be found on the bosses, hit and haste make for a good combo to boost your (pre-) raiding kit.
Soul Drain Signet (Ring) – Dropped by Hexlord Malacrass, and due to its Spirit has the same value as the Shimmerclaw Band.

Yes, as you might expect the good loot is rather slim here. Most of the stuff found in Zul’aman is Crit/Mastery or Spirit/Crit, which is great for a healing offspec, but a little less useful for us. Even with the increase in value of Mastery, getting a good portion of Haste is very important.

Of course, there’s the Minitature Voodoo Mask from Hexlord Malacrass, which is a fun trinket allowing you to summon Voodoo Gnomes. And if you manage to save all four of the prisoners, you will be awarded with a (purple) Amani War Bear.

Akil’zon

The Eagle boss is a rather straightforward encounter; he will do Chain Lightning, so stay spread. Occasionally he will call down a flock of birds to peck at people, which needs to be healed through. Now and again, a big white bird will come down and carry one person aloft; you can still DPS while grabbed, and it needs to go down as quick as possible. His most dangerous ability is his Lightning Storm; he will pull one person into the air, who will become the centerpoint of a big lightning storm dealing massive damage.

To avoid the damage, you have to stand under the person who’s now floating in the air. Once the ability is announced, you will have about three seconds to get in position. If you happen to be grabbed by the white bird at the same time (which happened to me during our first ZA run) simply DPS until the last moment, and Disperse. With a bit of luck the bird will die, allowing you to take your proper place, but even if it doesn’t you will live through it.

Nalorakk

The Bear boss is probably the easiest boss in Zul’aman. He will deal massive damage on the tank, and between phase transitions charge three times at the furthest target away from him. Simply have the ranged DPS/healer stand in a line, and take a few steps back in turn. This way you spread the debuff he applies.

In phase 2 he turns into a bear causing Bleeds on the tank – this, added to his massive damage is the most dangerous phase to be in. He also uses Deafening Roar, silencing people for 2 seconds. If you time it just right, you can get a Mass Dispel off just before the roar completes, allowing you to remove the silence. This helps a lot to keep the tank up, because a silenced healer can quickly run behind on healing.

Jan’alai

The Dragonhawk Boss is a positioning/AoE check. Every so often he will call on a few hatchers, who run to the eggs on either side of him and try to hatch Dragonhawks. It’s easiest to kill one of them, and let the other one hatch the eggs (all of them if you have faith in your tank/healer, else about half) which are then picked up by the tank and AoE’d down. They deal large amounts of fire damage and put a stacking fire debuff on the tank, so be sure to test with a small wave first before allowing more dragonhawks to spawn so you are not overwhelmed.

Jan’alai himself casts a flaming wall onto his platform, which needs to be avoided. Ocasionally he will also place bombs down on the platform, which detonate in a few seconds. If you swivel your camera up to look down on yourself, it’s easy to position yourself in the empty gaps between bombs.

At 35% he will hatch all remaining eggs, so by that time most or all eggs should have been hatched and the dragonhawks killed. This means that if your healer and/or tank are struggling, you will have to put only light DPS on Jan’alai. This boss is the biggest blocker for obtaining a successful Bear Run.

Halazzi

He will be mostly tank and spank, except for the water totems he puts down. When this happens, the tank has to move him out of its range so he will not be healed by it. Ranged and healer should stand near the totem to get its health and mana restoration.

Halazzi also puts down Corrupted Lightning Totems, which have to be killed as soon as possible. Since our only attacks effective on it are Mind Spike, Mind Blast and Shadow Word:Death (usually better used on the boss) it helps if another DPS is powerful enough to take them down. Else make up for lost DPS time by using Mind Spike on the totem and an instant-cast Mind Blast on the boss as your next action.

Every 25%, Halazzi will heal to full and call upon a Lynx spirit which attacks people at random and debuffs their armor. This can be nasty for the healer if it shreds the tank a few times. If your healing is a bit on the low side, kill the Lynx. If you are confident, ignore it and continue to DPS on Halazzi. Once they recombine again, he will return to his pre-lynx phase health minus damage you dealt during that phase.

Hex Lord Malacrass

The Hexlord comes with two adds selected randomly from a few possible combinations. In general, CC them if you can, and interrupt their abilities and kill them if you can’t. Malacrass himself tosses Shadowbolt Volleys and will occasionally copy some key abilities from people in the party. For us, this means Heal, Mind Control, Mind Blast, SW:Death and Psychic Scream. Not only do we give him the nastiest abilities, we also give him the most abilities to pick from. I am not sure if your talent spec is a factor in deciding which abilities het gets, but Fear and MC combined can make life very difficult for a party.

Every minute or so, he (used to) drain the soul of all people in range, reducing their damage, healing done and health by 1% while boosting himself for the amount drained. I don’t think he actually still does this, but in the fray of the fight and the short duration, I didn’t catch it. Even if he did, he doesn’t live as long as he did in the old 10man version, and gains only 5% boosts instead of 10% boosts, so it should be considered a really soft enrage.

Either way, some of your time will be spent Dispelling, Fearing MC’d party members or helping out on the healing a bit if the healer is given the whammy by Malacrass’ stolen abilities.

Daakara

Like Zul’jin, Daakara switches phases and can gain abilities from any of the four animal bosses. However, instead of 5 phases (4 spirits + Troll) he now has 3 (2 spirits + Troll).

Troll: Whirlwinds and causes Grievous Throw, where the target must be healed up to remove the debuff
Lynx: Spawns two adds, which need to be controlled and killed quickly
Bear: Huge tank damage, can charge players, and casts Creeping Paralysis, which you can remove with Mass Dispel
Dragonhawk: Lots of fire effects to move out of
Eagle: Avoid cyclones, and casting a spell deals damage to you. Kill the Lightning Totem when it appears

As a note for the Eagle Boss, if you cast a cast-time spell (such as Mind Blast) and an Instant cast (DoTs, SW:Death) the game usually registers this as a single cast due to the short time between them. Use this to your advantage to weave in PW:Shield spells to protect you from the Zap effect.

Amani Hex Sticks

Throughout Zul’aman, mobs killed can drop Amani Hex Sticks. You can use such sticks to undo the curse on people that turned into frogs. You can find the frogs at the pond in the middle of Zul’Aman. There’s an achievement to free every single NPC, but you can also be awarded with the Mojo pet and some NPCs are also useful – they leave chests with charms or loot, and two of the NPCs are vendors.

You can find the NPCs you saved at the entrance of the dungeon.

Conclusion

While not as revamped as Zul’gurub, I found Zul’aman to be a pleasant experience as it took me straight back to the days of the Bear Runs. Sadly I didn’t manage to get one back then, but at least I have another shot at it now. Bear Runs are still tricky and strict, requiring a fast and confident tank, a very competent healer, and DPS with aggression bordering on aggro-magnets.

Rehashed content? Sure. But I am not going to discount it, at least not until I’ve run it so often it makes me cry to see the loading screen (again).

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