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This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Maloriak in Blackwing Descent. It is targeted to anyone who desires to understand the fight mechanics.
This guide applies to patch 4.3 of World of Warcraft.
The encounter against Maloriak presents little difficulty, with the possible exception of the last phase, which is short but intense. The fight will test the awareness of your raid: spreading, stacking, and attacking the adds must be done in a precise, but predictable, manner.
1. General Information↑top
1.1. Health Pools
Maloriak has the following health pool:
Aberrations have the following health pools:
1.2. Enrage Timer
Maloriak will enrage and wipe the raid after 7 minutes in Normal mode and 12 minutes in Heroic mode.
1.3. Raid Composition
The following raid compositions are advised:
2. Overview of the Fight↑top
The encounter with Maloriak can be broken down in two phases: the Main Phase, during which Maloriak performs a variety of abilities with which the raid must successfully deal, and the Nuke Phase, triggered by pushing Maloriak below 25% health, and which is basically a DPS race to kill him before he wipes the raid.
The Main Phase represents the complicated part of the encounter and is itself broken down in a cycle of 3 sub-phases: Red Phase, Blue Phase, and Green Phase. This cycle repeats until it is interrupted by Maloriak reaching 25% health. Because of the enrage timer, and the fixed duration of the cycle, your raid will only have time to complete 2 cycles before having to push Maloriak into the Nuke Phase.
The strategy for the Main Phase is conditioned by the 18 adds (Aberrations) that Maloriak will periodically try (5 times per cycle, to be precise) to release by packs of 3. The raid can prevent him from doing so by interrupting his spell cast. The adds take 100% increased damage during the Green Phase, which is why they should be killed then. When Maloriak reaches 25% health, he will release all the remaining adds. You will need to avoid this when there are still Aberrations alive, because, as we stated above, the Nuke Phase is a DPS race and your raid cannot afford to waste time killing adds that could have been dealt with more efficiently during a Green Phase.
The idea is therefore to let Maloriak release 9 adds (3 packs of 3) during the Blue and Red Phase of a cycle so that they can be killed during the Green Phase. Of course, it is possible to release 6 adds, then 12, or the other way around but releasing 9 each time spreads the damage on the off-tank(s), making the fight easier overall.
The Red and Blue phases can come in any order, so the cycle is always either of:
The Blue Phase requires the raid to be spread out, while the Red Phase requires the raid to be stacked up, with the exception of players affected by a debuff who need to move out of the raid.
3. Main Phase↑top
During the main phase, Maloriak has a set of abilities that he will always cast. In addition, each sub-phase (Blue, Red, or Green), temporarily grants him new abilities.
The Blue/Red/Green Phase cycle has a fixed duration of approximately 2 minutes and 35 seconds:
At the beginning of each sub-phase, Maloriak throws a vial (blue, red, or green, depending on the sub-phase) into his cauldron. Then he walks towards the cauldron to drink the resulting potion. This takes about 6 seconds, during which Maloriak is harmless and casts no ability.
The 15-second transitions at the beginning and the end of a cycle mean that there is a 30-second transition period between the first cycle and the second cycle.
Below, you will find the list of abilities that Maloriak will retain throughout the Main Phase. The timer on each of these 3 abilities is tied to the timer on the 2 other.
In addition, Maloriak has a melee attack which he performs approximately every 1.5-2 seconds (when he is not casting). It deals approximately 25k damage in 10-man difficulty, and 40k damage in 25-man difficulty.
Release Aberrations and Arcane Storm seem to have a 15-second cooldown (though in reality, they are cast at much higher intervals). They are always cast in succession, but the order changes randomly. Sometimes, a transition from one sub-phase to another (from Blue Phase to Red Phase, for example) will occur between these 2 abilities, resulting in the second ability not being cast. Remedy will happen every other time, shortly after the second ability. When there is no interruption due to a sub-phase change, the succession of abilities will be as follows:
Note that most of the times, the first sub-phase change of the encounter will prevent the second ability from being cast.
Throughout the Main Phase, you need to have one or two players dedicated to interrupting Arcane Storm. Any class with a decent interrupt (other than Hunters, Mages, and Priests) should be able to reliably do that job.
As said before, you will want to release 9 Aberrations per cycle. That means that 3 Release Aberrations need to be left uninterrupted, while all the others will be interrupted. Release Aberrations will be cast a minimum of 4 times and a maximum of 6 times per cycle. Ideally, you want to interrupt the first cast, let the 3 next casts go through and interrupt all subsequent casts until the next cycle begins.
Aberrations are released on the sides of the room, where you can see containers. A single cast can release 2 adds on one side and 1 add on the other. The off-tank(s) needs to be aware of that and be ready to go pick them up. 10-man raids should only need to use 1 off-tank, while 25-man raids will find that using 2 off-tanks makes the fight much easier.
Each Aberration buffs itself and nearby Aberrations with Growth Catalyst. This buff stacks, which means that the more Aberrations you have released, the more damage the off-tank(s) will be taking. Each Aberration hits every 2 seconds, for 5k per hit in 10-man difficulty and 10k per hit in 25-man difficulty, in average. Because of the buff, the Aberrations need to be tanked away from Maloriak. In 25-man, the Aberrations need to be spread evenly among both off-tanks (so that Growth Catalyst does not stack too high).
Outside of a Blue, Red, or Green Phase, there is no particular positioning constraint during the Main Phase.
3.3. Blue Phase
During this phase, ranged players need to be spread out 5 yards apart while melee players can stack up, but they sometimes need to move out of the group. These constraints are due to 2 new abilities that Maloriak gains:
3.4. Red Phase
During this phase, everyone, except the off-tank if they are tanking Aberrations already, needs to be in front of the boss, not necessarily stacked, but aligned with the tank and the boss. Occasionally, one player will need to move away from being in front of Maloriak. All this is due to the 2 new abilities that Maloriak gains:
3.5. Green Phase
During this phase, Maloriak's cauldron will cause every unit in the room, Maloriak and the raid members included, to be debuffed with Debilitating Slime. This debuff causes the Growth Catalyst buff that the Aberrations apply on themselves to be removed, giving the raid a 15 second window to kill them. Therefore, this phase should be dedicated to killing the Aberrations.
After the cauldron erupts and debuffs everyone with Debilitating Slime, Maloriak will be knocked back towards the entrance, with anyone standing close to him. The tank and the players at melee range needs to be aware of this and avoid getting knocked back too.
The Aberrations should be tanked close to Maloriak so that AoE damage done to them also affects Maloriak. Since Maloriak is knocked back towards the stairs at the entrance of the room at the beginning of the Green Phase, the Aberrations should be brought there by the off-tank shortly before this sub-phase begins.
During this phase, the main tank will be hit harder by Maloriak (because of Debilitating Slime) and, as such, will need additional healing.
3.6. Tips and Tricks
4. Nuke Phase↑top
This phase is a simple DPS race with only a few mechanics that are easy to dodge. It is triggered immediately after Maloriak's health reaches 25%, regardless of whether Maloriak is in a Blue, Red, or Green Phase.
In addition to Remedy, Maloriak has the following abilities:
The Prime Subjects that Maloriak summons deal melee damage every 2.3 seconds for about 20k in 10-man difficulty, 40k in 25-man difficulty. They have one ability: Rend, which is a stacking debuff applied about every 6 seconds on the Prime Subject's target.
The two important aspects of this phase are handling the Prime Subjects and avoiding the damage from Magma Jets.
The Prime Subjects should be picked up by the off-tank as soon as they are released. They can be slowed, snared, etc., so that the off-tank can easily kite them around the room.
Maloriak should be tanked so that he faces a wall of the room. When he starts casting Magma Jets, the tank has 2 seconds to move away before Maloriak covers the area in front of him with fire. After that, the tank should move Maloriak so that he faces another portion of the wall.
The damage on the off-tank will increase over time because of Rend. Damage reduction and healing cooldowns should be kept to deal with this stacking debuff towards the end of the fight.
4.3. Tips and Tricks
In 25-man difficulty, using 2 off-tanks for handling the Prime Subject will help reducing the damage taken from Rend.
5. Heroic Mode↑top
The main addition of the Heroic version of this encounter is a new sub-phase of the main phase, which we call the Dark Phase. The remainder of the encounter is largely the same: Maloriak must still be pushed below 25% shortly after the second Green Phase.
In addition to the Dark Phase, which we describe in the next section, most abilities deal more damage:
Arcane Storm, Biting Chill, Flash Freeze, Absolute Zero, Magma Jets, and the melee attacks from the Prime Subjects deal exactly the same amount of damage as they do in normal mode. However, Magma Jets is now cast much more frequently, about every 4 seconds (2 second cast plus a delay of 2 seconds), down from 10.
Maloriak and his Aberrations have had their health pools increased. To account for this and the new Dark Phase, the enrage timer has been increased to 12 minutes.
Prime Subjects gain a new ability called Fixate, which is cast a few seconds after a Prime Subject is released. It causes it to remain on its current target for the rest of the fight or until that target dies (in which case it will cast Fixate again shortly after).
5.2. Dark Phase
The Dark Phase is the first sub-phase of the Main Phase in Heroic difficulty. It means that the possible cycles of sub-phases are the following:
The Dark Phase has a fixed duration of approximately 95 seconds, during which the raid must kill adds.
When Maloriak enters the Dark Phase, he will gain Imbued Shadow, which makes him immune to taunt.
Then, he summons 5 Vile Swills, which look like dark oozes. Each of them has 1.61M health in 10-man difficulty and 5.62M health in 25-man difficulty. They attack their tank every 2.4 seconds and deal 12-13k damage in 10-man difficulty and 20-25k in 25-man difficulty.
Dark Sludge is cast by the Vile Swills at random members. It creates a dark puddle on the ground that deals 15,000 Shadow damage twice per second. It is hard to obtain a precise frequency for the apparitions of new puddles, but it is in the order of magnitude of 1 new puddle every second. The damage from two or more overlapping puddles will stack, meaning that each puddle will deal its damage separately to players standing at the intersecting area of the puddles.
Maloriak will cast Engulfing Darkness (10-man/25-man) 7 times on the tank (or rather, in direction of the tank) during the Dark Phase. The cast of the ability is 3 seconds, followed by a channel of 8 seconds during which the tank cannot be healed. Once a channel is over, the cast of the next Engulfing Darkness starts.
The important part of the Dark Phase consists in kiting the Vile Swills properly. They spawn under Maloriak and need to be taunted swiftly by the unique off-tank in 10-man difficulty and the 2 off-tanks in 25-man difficulty. Then, they must be kited around the room, following the walls.
The melee DPS should stack on the off-tank(s). The ranged DPS should stay clear of the path where the adds will be kited, so as to avoid forcing the melee group to pass through misplaced puddles.
The Vile Swills should be dead by the time they have travelled half the perimeter of the room.
DPS classes with very low AoE capabilities should simply stay on Maloriak. They should be extremely careful with managing their threat because Maloriak is buffed with Imbued Shadow. Should a DPS be targeted by Maloriak during this phase, their first priority is to face Maloriak to the back of the room, so that no one else gets hit by Engulfing Darkness (10-man/25-man). It should take a few seconds the tank to regain aggro, at which point the careless DPS player can go back to the raid.
Maloriak should be tanked facing the back of the room so that no one besides the tank gets hit by Engulfing Darkness. This ability prevents healing on the tank while it is being channeled. Therefore, the tank can only be healed while Maloriak is casting, so roughly 3 seconds every 11 seconds. In that small time window, the tank must be topped off so as to be able to withstand and survive the next channel.
5.3. Nuke Phase
With the exception of a minor change in the nuke phase, the rest of the encounter remains largely the same.
A few seconds after spawning, Prime Subjects cast Fixate on their current target. Their off-tank must have aggro on them before they do so. Failure to pick up the Prime Subjects in time is problematic as they will keep on attacking their original target after Fixate has been cast. Once the Prime Subjects are fixated on the off-tank(s), they should simply be slowed, snared, etc., while the off-tank(s) kite(s) them around the room.
5.4. Tips and Tricks
During the Dark Phase, players will take a lot of Shadow damage from Dark Sludge. Therefore, Shadow resistance is advised.
Because of the increased damage of Acid Nova, there is now brutal Nature damage during the Nuke Phase. For this reason you will want to have some Nature resistance for that phase.
6. Learning the Fight↑top
The encounter with Maloriak is made up of fixed-duration phases. This leaves little room to practice the different phases in a controlled way, as is possible with other encounters.
Therefore, your raid will have to slowly progress through the encounter. Since DPS is not required to pass the Blue and Red phases, your DPS players can try to focus on proper positioning until they can easily avoid damage.
7. Final Considerations↑top
This concludes the strategy guide for the encounter against Maloriak. The information contained herein is sufficient (more than sufficient, in fact) to allow your raid to succeed.