Hello, this is your Pal Pallie and welcome to the Power Word Drunk's guide to the Grand Empress Shek'zeer encounter in Heart of Fear. This encounter involves a few rotating phases and a final burn phase that will make your healers cry. 2 tanks, any mix of 5 ranged/melee dps and 3 heals is what is required for this fight in 10 man mode.
The boss alternates through its 1st 2 phases until brought to 30% health at which point she gets really pissed and starts harming your raid in many nasty ways. The first phase is fairly straightforward except for dealing with dissonance fields. In phase 2, the boss disappears and you deal with a set of adds. When all of the adds die, the boss will return to the battle and go back to phase 1. This can also happen after 2 minutes and 30 seconds of dealing with the adds. USually your raid will be the one forcing this transition and not the timer. As mentioned earlier, phase 3 begins at 30% and can get nasty really quickly as you deal with an Anubarak-like aoe, plus some debuffs, plus some more raid damage on top of that.
Looking at phase 1 more in detail, the tank's job is extremely simple. Taunt off at 3 stacks of Eyes of the Empress and help your healers out as much as you can in staying alive. If you let the debuff stack to 5, you will be Mind Controlled by the boss and start smacking your raid around. Just taunt off and hang out. Your real work comes in phase 2.
The raid in general will be spread out as she has a random targeted splash damage ability called Dread Screech. Dps and healers, you will have to deal with the major mechanic of this phase called Dissonance Fields. The boss places two zones down. They are a targetable mob but you can do no direct damage to them. Instead, they lose health as everyone in the raid casts spells. Once they reach 0 health, they explode and do around 140k physical damage to the entire raid.
Befofe you wonder how you'll survive 280k raid damage from both fields exploding, there is one more part to the story. Periodically, the boss will debuff a player in the raid with Cry of Terror. The player will do around 26k shadow damage to the raid every 2 seconds. However, if that player is INSIDE a dissonance field, they do no damage to the raid. Plus, every time they cast a spell while in the field, the health of the field will go down much more quickly. The only downside to being inside the field is that you can't be healed and take damage from the field itself.
Therefore, if you get Cry of Terror on you, it is your job to go into the field at high health and come out when you get low while doing as much spellcasting as you can. Dealing with the fields in this manner is how you can avoid two fields exploding at the same time. You designate one field to be brought low by any targets of Cry of Terror and then its explosion should come much earlier than its partner field. Don't get me wrong though, its explosion hurts a lot so any raid CDs to bring the raid back up quickly should be utilized here if necessary. Once your raid masters this mechanic, phase 1 is very straightforward.
Phase 2 begins when the Empress runs out of energy. This is approximately at the 2 and a half minute mark in the fight. She will go hide in her cacoon and summons a pack of adds from each side of the room. Each pack consists of one Reaver and 3 Windblades. It is important to note right away that for every add that is within 8 yards of another, they will all gain a stacking damage buff of 5%. This means you can't simply stack them up and aoe them down. We'll discuss strategy a little later, but lets take a look at each of the types of adds.
Windblades have moderate health and do a few things. First off, they will randomly Fixate on a raid member and pursue them for 30 seconds. When that happens, they should be kited until the Fixate drops. They will also sometimes stop and cast Dispatch. This interruptable spell does a decent amount of damage to the raid so it should be interrupted as soon as possible Lastly, when Windblades are still alive, they will leave Sticky Resin on the ground in random places. If a raid member runs through this, they will get slowed and take a decent amount of nature damage. Why would anyone want that? Well, if two players with Resin run to each other, they will form an Amber Trap. Subsequent Resins can be dropped into that trap and once it has 5 stacks of Resin it will be fully functional. The trap takes away 5% of the trapped mob's health every few seconds. It will also cause any Windblades that are alive to run over and try to break the trap. You'll know why this trap is important soon enough.
Reavers are the other type of add in this fight. They have a ton of health, 42 million in 10 man normal. The boss herself has 200 million health so this is a significant add and something you can't spend time dpsing down. The reavers have a frontal cone attack so they must be turned away from the raid. They also have a random Posion Bomb attack that does some small damage to players in the raid. Their last mechanic is Poison-Drenched Armor. This basically is a buff given to the tank that will let them and any nearby raid members do some additional nature damage.
So in case you haven't put two and two together yet, the general strategy to phase 2 is to form Amber traps from Resin and kill the Reavers using those traps. There are two popular approaches to dealing with the adds. One is to have each tank pick up a set of adds and burn down a few of the Windblades per side. Leaving up a couple Windblades, you keep forming traps with Resin and when one is complete, you drag a Reaver into it. After that, you leave one windblade alive until another trap is formed and then trap the 2nd reaver in it. We did not take this approach in this video as we found our tanks got crushed even with large CDs due to the 5% damage buff per add. It is a viable strategy but we settled on an alternative.
We had one tank pick up both Reavers and drag them to the front of the room. The other tank picked up all 6 of the Windblades and started kiting them. Aggro is tricky here but liberal use of aoe abilities plus tricks and misdirects made that a non issue for us. You can see our DK running around in a big circle in the room kiting the Windblades. Dps is focused on two things. First, killing a few of the Windblades to make tanking them viable. And second, kiting resin into a drop point marked with star to get a trap done as soon as possible. In this video we had a trap ready while there were still 4 Windblades up and about a minute into the phase. After that, we dropped 3 more of the Windblades so that they didn't bust the trap and left one alive while we prepared the 2nd trap.
Once that trap was complete, I moved the final Reaver into it and we killed off the last Windblade. Its important to note, the boss will come back after 2 and a half minutes into this phase OR if all the Windblades die. As you can see here, we had the trapped Reaver still alive when the boss returned. This is not problematic at all because the trap will soon kill the Reaver and he does nothing to the raid at this point. The biggest key to success using this strategy is excellent kiting. Use of speed boosts on your tank and slows on the adds is required. Your kiting tank will lose some of the Windblades to Fixates so your raid still needs to do some kiting themselves if Fixated. Beyond that, just get traps completed quickly and then the phase is about done.
After the boss comes back out, she will have her phase 1 abilities and the fight continues. We chose to blow Bloodlust at this point to avoid a 2nd add phase. According to reports, there doesn't seem to be a hard enrage timer so having a 2nd add phase isn't a raid killer. But that phase is more hectic and we just chose to avoid it. One thing to note is that you'll definitely want any remaining dissonance fields gone before pushing her past 30%. Depending on how good your raid is at dealing with dissonance, this may be a tight window to fit your transition. As you can see, we blew up the last field and only had about 9 seconds before she would have started another add phase.
And now we come to phase 3. Remember Anubarak from ToC? Yep, you lose half your current health every few seconds. Now add on some 40k shadow damage to two random raid members and then add a 5 second cast time conal aoe that will fear you for 8 seconds, oh yeah and she'll also fear two raid members who will do aoe damage to nearby raid members. Yeah, thats phase 3. Suffice to say, there is a metric crapton of damage going out in this phase. Tanks, all you have to worry about is surviving and not getting hit with the Consuming Terror cast. Do your normal taunt off routine for Eyes of the Empress and keep yourself and others alive.
Dps, you turret the boss as much as possible while watching out for two things. One is the Consuming Terror cone. Its easy to spot and you have 5 seconds to move away. The 2nd thing to watch out for is if you get Visions of Demise cast on you. If you do, you have 4 seconds to move away from the raid but not out of range of heals. You'll be feared but healers should hopefully dispell you quickly so you can get back to dpsing. Also try to keep yourself alive with personal CDs as the healers will be overworked.
Healers, your job is to reroll as a tank and let some other sucker do this fight for you. No really its not all that awful. Your priorities are the same as dps in terms of positioning. Don't get hit by Consuming Terror and run out of the raid for Visions of Demise. The raid is going to lose half their current health so it is impossible to keep everyone at 100%. From what we can tell, keeping the raid around 40 to 60% is probably a safe number. The current tank will need to be topped off as much as is reasonable. Your high priority though is going to be quick dispells of those affected by Visions of Demise. You will have a decent warning of who is going to get it since it doesn't fear them right away. Just coordinate dispells if necessary and keep them healed up. Any damage reduction CDs will be extremely useful here. So just roll through the CDs. Depending on your dps, this phase will last approximately 2 minutes so don't blow everything right away. You get mini-breaks as the boss casts Consuming Terrors so use that for some regen or saving those who are really low.
That's all for this guide on Grand Empress Shek'zeer. Learn how to deal with dissonance fields, handle adds, and then push your way through the final healing check in phase 3 and you'll have this down in no time. If you've found this guide helpful, please Like the video and subscribe. Thanks and see you next time from your Pal Pallie.