Originally Posted by LoreWelcome to the Tankspot Dragon Soul raid guide. My name is Lore, and this video will cover Warmaster Blackhorn, the sixth encounter in the Dragon Soul raid instance. You'll need 2 tanks, 5 or 6 healers, and a balanced mix of DPS, although the fight does favor ranged DPS and classes with solid cleave or multi-target capabilities.
There are two phases to this encounter, the first dealing primarily with add management, and the second with Warmaster Blackhorn himself. Let's take a look.
Phase 1 - Abilities
The first and most important mechanic to mention in Phase 1 is the Skyfire, the flying gunship the encounter takes place on. Much like the Gunship Battle encounter in Icecrown Citadel, the Skyfire has a health bar, and if it runs out, the ship explodes and the fight is over. There's a few different ways that the ship can actually take damage.
The most obvious is Twilight Onslaught, which is cast by Goriona, Warmaster Blackhorn's mount, and can be seen as a large swirling purple graphic on the ground. This deals an extremely large amount of damage to the Skyfire if it's allowed to connect with the deck of the ship. You can avoid that by having your raid stand in the graphic before it lands. That causes your raid to take the damage instead of the Skyfire, and splits it between everyone who was hit.
There will also be much smaller versions of Twilight Onslaught called Twilight Barrage, cast by several Twilight Assault Drakes that will be flying around the area. These function mostly the same as Twilight Onslaught, they just deal significantly less damage and thus don't need as many players to soak them.
The only other way the Skyfire can take damage is from the Twilight Sappers. These are little goblins that will parachute onto the deck of the Skyfire, near the front of the ship, drop a smoke bomb which makes them invisible for a second, and start running toward the ship's cabin. If they reach it, they'll explode, which does 20% of the ship's health in damage. Fortunately, they don't have a lot of health, and can be stunned, slowed, and even Death Gripped.
While all that's going on, you'll also need to deal with the Twilight Elite Dreadblades and Slayers. These are two larger adds that are almost exactly the same. Each deals a heavy amount of melee damage (and thus needs to be tanked), each will randomly charge at a raid member (dealing a small amount of damage to everyone in the path), and each will occasionally stack up a damage over time effect on anyone standing in front of them. The only difference is that the Dreadblade's damage over time effect, called Degeneration, deals shadow damage, while the Slayer's, called Brutal Strike, deals physical damage. Those debuffs start out as a pretty low amount of damage, but can stack up to be pretty substantial, and the debuff itself lasts a full minute.
Phase 1 - Strategy
Dealing with all of that can feel pretty hectic at first, but there's a pretty natural rotation to it. You'll be dealing with 3 waves of adds, starting with one Dreadblade and one Slayer. Each tank should pick one of these up immediately and take them off toward the side of the ship. The positioning there is kind of sensitive -- you want them to be close enough to each other to allow melee DPS to use their cleave abilities, but tanks need to be careful not to stand too close to each other or you risk getting stacks of both of the damage over time effects.
Meanwhile, DPS should start putting damage into them. Occasionally, some friendly NPC's will use the harpoon guns on the sides of the ship to latch onto a couple of the Twilight Assault Drakes and pull them in. When that happens, your ranged DPS should switch to killing them instead, while melee stays on the Dreadblade and Slayer. Once the drakes are dead, ranged can go back to the melee adds. Note that your tanks should alternate which add they're tanking each wave -- if you were just tanking a Dreadblade, next time you should tank a Slayer, and vice versa. That's to make sure the 1-minute damage over time effects have time to fall off.
Of course, whenever a Sapper spawns, you'll want all your DPS to switch to killing it immediately. Stuns, slows, and death grips should go out as well. These are important, but killing them shouldn't be very difficult.
The only other things to deal with in phase 1 are the Twilight Barrage and Twilight Onslaught. Onslaught is pretty straightforward: when there's a big pink swirly graphic on the ground, everybody needs to stand in it. The only players that should stay out are the two tanks -- if you have them soaking the Onslaught, you risk having the entire raid get hit by Brutal Strike or Degeneration.
For Twilight Barrage, we found it easiest to split the ship up into 4 quadrants, and assign a group to soak the Barrages that land in each area. One quadrant can be managed by the melee DPS, while the other three should have a few ranged DPS or healers keeping an eye on them. Note that as long as you're properly soaking the Onslaughts and killing the Sappers, you don't need to soak every single Barrage, but you'll still need to at least get most of them.
After the 3rd wave of Dreadblades and Slayers has been killed, Warmaster Blackhorn will fly in himself, leaping off of Goriona onto the deck of the Skyfire and starting phase 2.
Phase 2 - Abilities
At the start of the phase, you'll be dealing with both Goriona and Warmaster Blackhorn. Goriona will stop using Twilight Onslaught and instead start casting Twilight Flames, which targets a random player and leaves a large purple void zone on the ground that you'll need to move out of. She'll continue casting this until she's brought down to 25% health, at which point she flies away and leaves the encounter.
Warmaster Blackhorn himself has several abilities. Probably the most dangerous is Shockwave. He'll point himself at a random raid member and, after a couple of seconds, deal a pretty massive amount of damage to anyone caught in the cone, along with stunning them for 4 seconds.
He'll also occasionally use Disrupting Roar, which does a bit less damage than Shockwave, but hits everyone in the raid. It also interrupts anyone within 10 yards for 8 seconds, so casters will need to stay away.
On top of that, he'll be stacking up a debuff called Devastate on the tank, that reduces their armor by 20% per stack. Finally, for every 1% health that Blackhorn loses, he'll gain a stack of Vengeance, which causes him to deal 1% more damage per stack.
Phase 2 - Strategy
Dealing with all of that is fortunately pretty simple, although things can still be pretty hectic at the start. Ranged DPS should immediately start burning down Goriona, to get her to fly away as quickly as possible before you get overrun by Twilight Flames. Meanwhile, a tank should pick up Blackhorn and keep him near the center of the room so that the ranged and healers can spread out around him.
Once Goriona's out of the way, things get much simpler. Casters will need to keep their distance from Blackhorn to avoid getting interrupted by Disrupting Roar, but make sure not to get too far away or you won't be able to move out of Shockwave in time. Tanks should swap aggro every 3 stacks of Devastate, and save big defensive cooldowns for later in the fight when he'll be dealing huge amounts of damage due to Vengeance. Other than that, it's just a simple matter of burning him down.
Once you've gotten this far, Warmaster Blackhorn is all that stands between you and Deathwing. He might take a few attempts to get everything working smoothly, but once you've got him figured out, he shouldn't pose too big of a challenge.
If you'd like more information on this or any other Dragon Soul encounter, head over to Tankspot.com and click the Movies link at the top of the page. Thanks for watching, and good luck!