View Full Version : Ulduar General Vezax (Hard Mode)

08-31-2009, 03:25 AM

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Welcome back to the Ulduar raid guide! Call me Splug. In this video I'll be going over our strategy for the General Vezax hard mode achievement.
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This video is accurate as of patch 3.2.0a. Future patches may alter the fight in ways which cause the video to become obsolete.

As the melee positioning on this encounter is relatively static, we'll be zooming out to a ranged perspective for this video. A large portion of the fight's learning curve comes from the difficulties associated with surviving abilities that are not used against targets at point-blank range.

The primary defining element of the General Vezax encounter is the disabling of most forms of mana regeneration. Normally, mana can be regenerated by breaking the Saronite Vapors that float around the room, and standing in the resulting pool. However, this hard mode is enabled by leaving all six saronite clouds alive, and allowing them to coalesce into a seperate entity, the Saronite Animus. To complete hard mode, the raid must wait for all six clouds to spawn, one every thirty seconds, kill the Saronite Animus, and then kill General Vezax. This also ensures the fight cannot be blitzed in less than three minutes.

The first leg of the encounter - the three minute stall - contains all the mechanics of non-hard mode with no change other than the finite mana limitation. Any ranged class is absolutely reliant upon casting from within the mana cost-reducing residue of shadow crash: if they are left without a crash at any time, they should cease all mana-consuming attacks and wand, but at the same time the fight cannot be prolonged forever due to healer mana constraints. Most classes may wish to research alternate talent specializations which sacrifice throughput in favor of efficiency and mana sustainance. Additionally, discipline priests can take some advantage of shadow crashes, as they do not reduce the effectiveness of power word:shield. All other healers are located within melee range of Vezax, allowing them to remain stationary throughout the encounter.

To ensure all casters have consistent uptime on shadow crash, we've broken our raid into two groups. One group always stays on the left edge of shadow crashes, the other always stays on the right. One member of each group is given a raid icon, and all other members of the group should try to stand exactly on top of the marked player. When a group is targetted for shadow crash, they strafe away from the other group at least the radius of a shadow crash, then double back into the very closest corner of the fresh crash after it lands. This allows the other group to remain stationary and continue casting, as well as minimizing this group's movement. In the event that several shadow crashes target one group, the opposite group's shadow crash may expire. If this happens, they slide toward the group that still has a shadow crash, until they reach the closest corner of the nearest crash.

Once the Animus spawns, the dynamic and pace of the fight change drastically. General Vezax gains a shield reducing all damage by 99%, meaning all damage needs to transition to the Animus as soon as threat and positioning permit. In addition to adding a second tank to the encounter, the animus will apply a shadow buffet which deals damage to the raid every two seconds in incrementally larger doses. This damage needs to be healed through normally, which will drastically tax healer resources. You'll want to throw bloodlust on the second half of the Animus' health, to assist with healing throughput, as well as burning any damage cooldowns. If damage players discover their mana pool does not sustain four and a half to five minutes, they may want to withold casts in later phase 1 attempts to ensure they're able to go full burn the entire duration of phase 2.

In 25-player difficulty, Vezax will continue to cast Searing Flames during the animus phase. Your interrupt team will need to use either focus target or mouse-over interrupt macros to prevent Vezax's cast while dealing damage to the Animus. In the 10-player environment, Vezax will not cast Searing Flames while under the effects of the Animus' shield.
DBM requires at least one player target General Vezax to receive Shadow Crash notifications. If you notice the mod stops working for your raid when the Animus spawns, have your main tank continue to target Vezax throughout the Animus phase. It does waste the tank's damage, but it will simplify the ranged's job.

Starting at roughly 25 to 30 applications of Profound Darkness, you will want to begin rotating your paladins' raid damage reduction cooldowns. Shadow Aura Mastery followed by Divine Sacrifice will help to reduce this damage at the later stages of the encounter.

Once the Animus is defeated, the fight becomes very similar to the initial phase, with one key difference. The effects of the Saronite Animus' Profound Darkness will still be active, meaning all shadow damage will be increased several fold. As such, Shadow Crashes are now quite lethal. Mark of the Faceless damage is classed as physical, meaning it is unchanged. It's also worth noting self-inflicted shadow-based damage, in particular from Shadow Word: Death, is now much more dangerous. Beyond that, the normal concerns presented by a long non-hard-mode attempt remain: healers and ranged will be running out of mana, and if deaths during the encounter reduce the number of ranged players too low, you will need to appoint either healers, melee, or the offtank to move out to provide sufficient Shadow Crash targets. Be sure anyone leaving melee range does not do so immediately before a crash, as it may cause them to become a legal target before getting far enough away to make it to safety.

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08-31-2009, 05:19 AM
Nice. Can you post up for download please. Been trying this last night yet its either a missed kicked or ranged not moving thats wiping us.

08-31-2009, 06:35 AM
Damn you recruited Clint Eastwoods voice double? This is awesome.

'Do ya feel lucky, punk?'

08-31-2009, 07:48 AM
I was really worried about doing this hardmode... but theother week i said screw it we will do it (in 10 man) and if u have good heals and a relatively geared tank this is an easy hard mode..

a good tip is pop a shadow resistance pot when the add spawns with an aura up and it makes that part a joke

08-31-2009, 09:30 AM
I'm doing this HM tonight on 25man, I hope we can make it.

08-31-2009, 09:51 AM
I like the movie.
I hope u get a new mic soon, there is an annoying high tone beep in it.

08-31-2009, 10:55 AM
Really excellent video. The different perspectives and clear descriptions of what is occurring during the fight make for an excellent guide.

08-31-2009, 11:34 AM
His voice sounds like a cross between Clint eastwood and batman XD

08-31-2009, 12:49 PM
I think I've figured out how to fix the mic clicking in and out between paragraphs. Talking louder seems to have helped as well.


09-01-2009, 12:38 AM
Nice guide, the only thing that I think need to be added is that the fight is doable with only one tank.
As a warrior I have solo tanked it on our R25 kill and multiple times in R10.

In my opinion, using two tank is a dps and healing power loss.

09-01-2009, 02:21 AM
I'd like to have seen some mention on how to deal with the surges. Since the fight needs to be quick, and you'll encounter them during the Animus phase, kiting him isn't wise (and that's ignoring that you could kite him away from dps range, or get a shadow crash while kiting.)
I think the twotank idea isn't bad, though. Especially on tenman it only costs you one to half a dps, and it allows the healers to waste less mana overhealing.

09-01-2009, 05:50 PM
Splug, you basically sound exactly like how I imagined you'd sound.

09-02-2009, 05:05 AM
Well done Splug.

09-03-2009, 08:43 PM
I'd like to have seen some mention on how to deal with the surges. Since the fight needs to be quick, and you'll encounter them during the Animus phase, kiting him isn't wise (and that's ignoring that you could kite him away from dps range, or get a shadow crash while kiting.)
I think the twotank idea isn't bad, though. Especially on tenman it only costs you one to half a dps, and it allows the healers to waste less mana overhealing.
Sorry, missed this question earlier.

We normally use a paladin as our Animus tank. He rotates hand of sacrifice and divine sacrifice during each surge, in addition to the General tank's own cooldowns when available. During the Animus phase, I run IBF for the first surge, and the second one will occur during the holy/ret paladins using their Divine Sacrifice chain (if the Animus isn't dead by then).


09-09-2009, 12:31 PM
With regard to DBM and shadow crashes during the animus phase, can one player (or raid lead/raid assist) put vezax as a focus to still get the warnings, so that all dps can focus the animus?

09-09-2009, 02:37 PM
We had rogues and warriors keep him on focus for interrupts, and that did not cause the notifications to be generated. The rogues were not promoted, but one of the warriors should have been. We did not test it very rigorously; I just got yelled at whenever I try to change targets and help throw some damage.


10-08-2009, 02:56 AM
Hello there Splug.
First of all, nice videos you are making: ) Keep it up.
But I have a question for you, any chance that you can upload your addon pack you have in this video, so it becomes exactly like you have it?: ) Having some problem finding those addons that you are using.

10-08-2009, 02:41 PM
I'm currently experiencing some technical difficulties with Pitbull. It seems to die on any characters with runes/runic power. I'm using AGUF as a stand-in on my deathknight while I wait for this issue to be resolved. I'll see about getting it uploaded somewhere over the weekend, though. Keep in mind it would be set up for a 1920x1200 resolution, and I have no idea what it would do if you tried to run it at something else.