Illidan Stormrage Strategy Guide (Black Temple)

illidan stormrage strategy guide (black temple) tbc classic
  • Author: Pride
  • Date: April 6, 2022
  • Updated: May 27, 2022
  • Expansion: TBC Classic

Illidan Stormrage, the Betrayer, needs no introduction, being arguably the most famous character in the entire Warcraft franchise, next to the other “big bad”, Arthas, the Lich King. Players finally have the chance to fight the Betrayer upon reaching the Temple Summit, the final section of the Black Temple raid, accessible only after defeating the Illidari Council. After getting this far, only one question remains: are you prepared?

Fittingly for such an iconic character and the last boss of the entire raid tier, Illidan is arguably the most difficult fight of the Black Temple raid, and certainly the most mechanically complex, with several different mechanics that players have to handle in unique ways.

Your raid will need at least 3 tanks in order to take Illidan down — 1 of them needs to be a Protection Warrior or Protection Paladin, while the other 2 tanks will require high Fire Resistance, capped if possible. Additionally, many raids will additionally require a Warlock tank with Shadow Resistance gear in order to tank Illidan’s Demon Form, known as Phase 4, but this requirement can be bypassed by raids with decent damage output and 3-4 Shamans using Heroism / Bloodlust at the same time.

This guide will offer a detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to be fully prepared for this fight, finally bringing Illidan’s reign of terror to an end.

Role Summaries

Phase 1

  • Don’t ever be in front of Illidan
  • Move to the melee DPS if you get targeted by Parasitic Shadowfiend, move back to your spot after the Shadowfiends spawn

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

  • Make sure you are more than 20 yards away from Illidan & more than 5 yards away from other players

Phase 5

  • Same as Phase 3, but make sure you move away from Maiev’s traps if the tank is taking Illidan to it

Phase 1

Phase 2

  • Stack up on top of each other
  • Be careful of fire as you follow the Flames of Azzinoth & never be in front of them
  • Avoid being near any of the ranged groups, so you don’t hit them with splash damage
  • If Illidan uses Eye Blast on the side you’re currently on, switch sides
  • If there’s Eye Blast blue flames on both sides, move to the south of the grate and wait it out, don’t risk it
  • Save your major DPS cooldowns for Phase 3

Phase 3

  • Same as Phase 1 — you don’t have to avoid being around other players as melee
  • Use your personal DPS cooldowns during Heroism / Bloodlust for maximum DPS

Phase 4

  • Move to the back of the room and stay more than 5 yards away from other players, you cannot DPS Illidan during this phase
  • Only go in to kill Shadow Demons if absolutely necessary, for example if they’re approaching a target near you

Phase 5

  • Same as Phase 3

Phase 1

Phase 2

  • Hunters: Use Misdirection on the tanks
  • Watch your threat — tanks are using Fire Resistance threat and thus have lower threat output
  • Shadow Priests: If you have to move due to your lower ranged, make sure you’re stacked on top of other players on the opposite group
  • Shadow Priests, Warlocks: Be very careful of your self-damage during this phase
  • Save your major DPS cooldowns for Phase 3

Phase 3

  • Same as Phase 1, but make sure you are more than 5 yards away from other players
  • Use your personal DPS cooldowns during Heroism / Bloodlust for maximum DPS

Phase 4

  • Attack Illidan from your max range, while standing more than 5 yards away from other players
  • You are chiefly responsible for killing Shadow Demons — focus those targeting players near them, then healers, then the Warlock tank

Phase 5

  • Same as Phase 3, but make sure you move away from Maiev’s traps if the tank is taking Illidan to it
  • If you transitioned to this phase from Phase 4, use threat reduction abilities like Soulshatter or Feign Death, or you will likely die

Phase 1

  • Main Tank Healers: Illidan hits hard — don’t ever lose focus, or the tank could die in a matter of seconds
  • Raid Healers: The only thing for you to heal during this phase will be Parasitic Shadowfiend, so this phase will be pretty easy for you

Phase 2

  • This phase is extremely healing intensive — make sure you understand what’s going on
  • There’s a small break after every phase in this fight, so don’t hesitate to use max rank spells and use a lot of mana if necessary
  • Flame of Azzinoth Tank Healers: Your tank will take very unpredictable damage spikes, don’t ever stop healing them
  • Raid Healers: Melee will inevitably get hit by fire a lot here & need extra healing
  • Raid Healers: Spam max rank heals on the player targeted by Dark Barrage — it does a LOT of damage

Phase 3

  • Same as Phase 1, but make sure you are more than 5 yards away from other players
  • Raid Healers: Agonizing Flames does more damage over time — its last 3 ticks hurt, pump big heals on players targeted by it as it ends
  • If you don’t need to heal anyone, help DPS with Wrath, Smite & Lightning Bolt — it can make the difference with skipping Phase 4

Phase 4

  • This phase is extremely healing intensive — make sure you understand what’s going on
  • Stand far away from Illidan so the Shadow Demons have to travel a longer distance to get to you
  • Stay more than 5 yards away from other players
  • Warlock Tank Healers: Your tank will take very unpredictable damage spikes, don’t ever stop healing them
  • Raid Healers: Agonizing Flames from the previous phase is still ticking, don’t stop healing its target

Phase 5

  • Same as Phase 3, but make sure you move away from Maiev’s traps if the tank is taking Illidan to it
  • Main Tank Healers: Your tank will need even more healing in this phase due to Enrage & moving to Maiev’s traps
  • Once Illidan is trapped, help DPS him down with Wrath, Smite & Lightning Bolt

Phase 1 – Main Tank

  • Illidan hits hard — always be prepared to react to a damage spike with a defensive cooldown
  • Keep Shield Block / Holy Shield up at all times & make sure you have 101.8% combined block, dodge and parry to nullify Shear
  • Quickly move Illidan out of the flames created by Flame Crash so melee DPS can keep safely attacking him
  • Make sure Illidan never faces your raid — it will be very bad if hit hits them with his Draw Soul, a frontal cone
  • Protection Warriors: Keep Demoralizing Shout & Thunder Clap up on Illidan at all times

Phase 2 – Flame of Azzinoth Tanks

  • Quickly pick up your assigned Flame of Azzinoth
  • Make sure your Flame never faces the raid, or people will die to Flame Blast
  • Kite the Flame in a circle-ish pattern as shown in the Phase 2 section, slowly, to avoid filling the arena with green flames
  • The green flames do about 1250 damage / second to you, so you can use defensive cooldowns & move through them quickly if necessary
  • You can’t move your Flame more than 25 yards away from its glaive, or it will enrage and wipe your raid
  • Move out of the Eye Blast‘s path if it is coming towards you — it will kill you in 1 hit
  • The blue flames only do about 500 damage per second to you, so you can move through them or stay in them if necessary
  • Do not hesitate to use your defensive cooldowns if your HP drops low or you have to move far from the raid — if you die, it’s a wipe
  • Main Tank: You cannot tank the Flames of Azzinoth, you’ll die in 1 hit — you’re essentially melee DPS for this phase, so check their section

Phase 3 – Main Tank

  • Exact same as Phase 1 for you

Phase 4 – Main Tank

  • You cannot tank Illidan in his Demon Form, you’ll die in 1 hit — you’re essentially melee DPS for this phase, so check their section
  • You can keep attacking Illidan during his 10 second transition animations, but move out the moment he enters his Demon Form
  • If he falls to the ground during his Demon Form, your raid has successfully skipped Phase 4, go back in and do threat ASAP

Phase 5 – Main Tank

  • Almost the same as Phase 3
  • If Maiev drops a trap near you or to a convenient spot, move Illidan to it
  • While moving, never show Illidan your back, keep using Shield Block / Holy Shield to nullify Shear & never let Illidan face the raid
  • If you can’t get Illidan into a trap to counter his Enrage, use all of your defensive cooldowns in order to stay alive
  • Protection Warriors: You can use your Shield Wall to counter Illidan’s Enrage OR to safely move him to a trap

Phase 1

  • Do the same thing as regular ranged DPS players

Phase 2

  • Do the same thing as regular ranged DPS players

Phase 3

  • You’re doing the same thing as other ranged DPS players for most of this phase
  • If it doesn’t look like your raid can get Illidan to 30% HP before he transitions to Phase 4, start moving to your designated spot
  • You will want to be more than 20 yards away from Illidan & other players, ideally at your maximum Searing Pain range
  • Start spamming Searing Pain on Illidan the moment he falls down onto the floor, as that’s when his threat resets

Phase 4

Phase 5

  • Same as Phase 3 — move to your designated spot a few seconds before the Phase 4 transition & start spamming Searing Pain


Phase 1

Illidan starts the fight off in Phase 1, in his standard night elf form.

After a 1.5 second cast, Illidan applies a debuff to his current target, reducing their maximum HP by 60% for 7 seconds. Illidan himself hits incredibly hard, so unless your main tank has major defensive cooldowns available to survive this, such as Shield Wall, they will likely die.

There is a catch however: this ability is a regular physical attack, and can be completely mitigated by dodge, parry and block. Thus, a tank that manages to reach a total of 101.8% total dodge, parry and block, will be guaranteed to avoid this attack. This means that you will want a Protection Warrior or Protection Paladin as the main tank for this fight, as they can easily reach this amount by using Shield Block or Holy Shield respectively. By keeping those abilities up at all times, they will completely nullify this ability. Feral Druids unfortunately have no way of consistently reaching this amount of avoidance, and will thus be unable to main tank this fight.

Cast every 10 to 15 seconds.

Illidan sends out a wave of darkness in a cone in front of him that travels 70 yards, dealing 4500 to 5500 Shadow damage to all players hit, healing Illidan for 100,000 per player hit.

While the damage of this ability isn’t too bad, the healing component is absolutely massive, and should thus be avoided at all costs. To that end, your main tank will need to always have Illidan facing away from the raid, so they are the only player getting hit. Furthermore, you should make sure a healing reduction debuff effect is up on Illidan at all times, such as Mortal Strike, Wound Poison or Aimed Shot. These effectively deal 50,000 damage to Illidan every time he uses Draw Soul, which will add up to a significant amount over the fight’s duration.

Cast every 30 to 45 seconds.

Illidan jumps high in the air and comes crashing down, dealing 925 to 1075 Fire damage to every player within 10 yards of his original location, and then summoning a 10-yard radius patch of blue flame on the ground, lasting 2 minutes. Players inside the flames will take 5000 Fire damage every 2 seconds.

This starting damage is not a big deal and will be easy to heal through. The flames however hurt, so your main tank should begin moving Illidan away from his original spot the moment he leaps into the air, so your melee DPS are out of the fire as soon as possible. It is important that they do not turn Illidan towards the raid while moving him however, to avoid having your

Illidan will target a random player in the raid and apply a debuff to them lasting 10 seconds, dealing 3000 Shadow damage to them every 2 seconds. Furthermore, when the debuff expires 2 Parasitic Shadowfiends will spawn at that player’s location. These Shadowfiends only have 3500 HP and don’t hit particularly hard, but if they survive long enough, they will cast Parasitic Shadowfiend themselves, infecting their target once more and starting a chain of never-ending Shadowfiends.

For that reason, your raid should aim to kill the Shadowfiends ASAP. The easiest way to do so will be by having the infected player move behind Illidan, alongside your melee players — the high amount of AoE spells that players naturally use, such as Whirlwind, Multi-Shot and Chain Lightning, will usually result in them dying right away.

Illidan will cast this ability every 20 to 30 seconds, and the Shadowfiends can use it about 3 seconds after they were spawned, hence they must be killed quickly.

Phase 2

Illidan will transition to phase 2 once he reaches 65% HP. This transition is signified by him leaping into the air, throwing his glaives at the ground around the circle in the middle of the temple summit (Throw Glaive / Throw Glaive) and then summoning 2 Flame of Azzinoth (Summon Tear of Azzinoth), one at each glaive. Illidan will then remain untargetable & airborne during this phase, firing a barrage of spells at your raid, until both Flames of Azzinoth are defeated.

This is the main thing you will have to worry about during Phase 2. Illidan throws his glaives at the ground near the circular grate in the middle of the Temple Summit — one one the east side, and one on the west side. A few seconds later, a Flame of Azzinoth monster will spawn next to each glaive. They are Demon type enemies with 1.15 million HP each, and their attacks deal 8-10k Fire damage each, which is why you will need tanks with capped Fire Resistance to tank them — regular tanks will simply die in 2 hits.

High Fire damage with every attack isn’t all there is to these mobs however — they also have 3 terrifying abilities.

The Flame of Azzinoth sends out a wave of flames in a cone front of it which travels up to 15 yards, dealing 7000 to 9000 Fire damage to all players in front of it. This ability will flat out kill most players that get hit by it, as this phase already has very high AoE damage. Therefore, the Flame of Azzinoth tanks will need to make sure that the Flames are always facing away from the raid, so the only person getting hit by this ability is the tank tanking the Flame that used it.

Cast every 10 seconds, and is always paired with Blaze.

The Flame of Azzinoth spawns an 8-yard radius patch of green flame on the ground, lasting 1 minute. Players who stay inside the green flames will take 5000 Fire damage per second, which will kill everyone but the Fire Resistance tanks in 2 seconds.

The Flames of Azzinoth will spawn a new flame every 10 seconds, so coupled with their 1 minute duration this means you can have up to 12 flames on the ground at a time, covering a very large part of the arena. It will therefore be imperative that your Fire Resistance tanks move them around very slowly, so the flames don’t get too close to your group, while also giving your melee DPS a chance to attack them.

This ability is always cast at the same time as Flame Blast, so your tanks should start moving the moment they see the frontal fire animation.

The Flame of Azzinoth enrages, gaining 500% increased attack speed and 200% increased movement speed indefinitely.

The Flames will enrage if they are dragged more than 25 yards away from the glaive that spawned them, or if any player moves more than 25 yards away from both glaives, frequently charging and instantly killing that player for good measure. Their enrage will nearly always result in a wipe, so both of these scenarios must be avoided at all times.

The way to avoid the enrage will be to have the raid stay around the circular grate in the middle of the room, between the 2 glaives. Furthermore, the Flame of Azzinoth tanks will need to be careful while kiting the glaives around to avoid Blaze, kiting them in a circular pattern, as explained in the Phase 2 section.

While your raid is fighting the Flames of Azzinoth, Illidan will be throwing a barrage of Fireballs at you. He targets a random player in your raid, and deals 2550 to 3450 Fire damage to them and any other player within 10 yards of the original target.

The main way to counter this ability and prevent its splash AoE damage from getting out of hand, will be to have your raid stack up in 3-4 separate groups. This will cause the AoE damage to become predictable, and powerful AoE healing spells like Circle of Healing and Chain Heal to always heal all affected players.

Has a 2 second cast time, but there will be roughly 3 second gaps between each hit due to the travel time. Illidan spams it throughout Phase 2.

Illidan channels a blue beam from his eyes, targeting the ground. His beam will slowly start moving in a straight line (6 yard radius) towards a specific spot (see the Phase 2 section) until it has traveled from one end of the room to another. Illidan cannot cast any of his other spells while channeling Eye Blast.

Any player hit directly by the beam will take 19,750 to 20,250 Shadow damage, dying instantly. Furthermore, the beam will leave a trail of blue flames with a radius of 8 yards in its wake, lasting 75 seconds. Players inside the blue flames will take 2000 Fire damage per second.

Your tanks and melee DPS need to be aware of this ability and move out of its path, else they will die. Your ranged DPS and healers will never have to worry about it, as none of the patterns travel through the middle, where they should be standing. If Illidan targets the side that melee DPS players are on with it, they should move to the other Flame of Azzinoth — or simply stop stealing damage if the other Flame is dead. Note that the damage of the residual flames isn’t particularly high, so players that are trapped on one side of the flames can run through with some light healing.

Illidan uses this ability every ~40 seconds. With sufficient DPS, you may only see it once during Phase 2, but most groups will likely see it 2-3 times.

Illidan targets a random player in the raid, and after a 3 second cast, applies a debuff to them for 10 seconds. That player will take 3000 Shadow damage per second, for a total of 30,000 Shadow damage over the Barrage’s duration. Illidan cannot cast other spells while casting Dark Barrage.

Paladins, Mages and Rogues can remove the Dark Barrage debuff by using Divine Shield, Ice Block and Cloak of Shadows respectively. Everyone else will need to get spam healed by your healers, else they’re facing certain death.

Cast every ~90 seconds. Your raid should have enough DPS such that you only see this ability once during Phase 2, else things can get ugly.

Phase 3

Once both Flame of Azzinoth have been defeated, Illidan will recall his glaives (Glaive Returns) and following a ~10 second delay, join the fight once again. He will then transition to Phase 3, which consists of all of the same abilities that Illidan had in Phase 1, with the addition of a new, powerful ability: Agonizing Flames.

Phase 3 can transition into 2 different phases:

  • After 60 seconds, Illidan will naturally transition to Phase 4
  • If you manage to get him down to 30% HP within 60 seconds, he will transition to Phase 5

Illidan targets a random player in the raid. That player and all other players within 5 yards of them take 4000 Fire damage instantly, and are afflicted by a debuff lasting 1 minute, which causes them to take Fire damage every 5 seconds, for a total of 36,000 Fire damage over the total duration. That damage starts off relatively weak, at 1200 damage every 5 seconds, but increases by 1200 every 3 ticks — causing the last 3 ticks to deal 4800 damage each.

Agonizing Flames makes Phase 3 slightly different to Phase 1. Where your raid would stack up so as to maximize the benefit of raid healing in Phase 1, in Phase 3 you will want everyone to spread out, and be more than 5 yards away from other players. You want to avoid multiple people getting hit by it, because its damage adds up quickly. Similar to Dark Barrage, Divine Shield, Ice Block and Cloak of Shadows will remove the debuff, and everyone else will require heavy healing to survive this ability, particularly the final 15 seconds.

Illidan will use this ability every 25 to 30 seconds.

Phase 4

After 60 seconds of Phase 3 or 5, Illidan will fall down on the floor for 10 seconds, before turning into his Demon Form. This is the beginning of Phase 4.

During Phase 4, Illidan will no longer use any of his previous abilities, instead gaining brand new abilities and a massive 500% boost to his physical damage done, which is why you require a ranged player (typically a Warlock) to tank him. To facilitate this, his threat is reset. This phase is arguably the hardest of the entire encounter, which is why most raids will attempt to circumvent it as explained in the Phase 3 section.

Similarly to Phase 3, Phase 4 can transition into 2 different phases:

  • After 60 seconds, Illidan will revert back to whichever phase you were in before, Phase 3 or 5
  • If you manage to get him down to 30% HP within 60 seconds, he will end Phase 4 early and transition to Phase 5

An aura that increases Illidan’s physical damage done by 500%. Lasts for all of Phase 4. He will kill any tank attempting to tank him normally in 1 hit.

Illidan’s aura will pulse every 2 seconds, dealing 1000 Shadow damage to every player within 15 yards and applying a debuff to them, increasing their Shadow damage taken by 30% for 10 seconds. This debuff can stack up 99 times, making it extremely obvious that nobody should be near Illidan.

Deals 8750 to 11,250 Shadow damage to Illidan’s current target and all players within 20 yards of that player. 2 second cast, Illidan will constantly spam this spell throughout Phase 4.

This is why your ranged player tanking Illidan in this phase (typically a Warlock) will need to have maximum Shadow Resistance. Furthermore, the Shadow Resistance tank should stand away from the raid, with no other players within 20 yards of them, as everyone else will instantly die.

Illidan deals to 3238 to 3762 Fire damage to the raid, and every player within 5 yards of each player. This means that if there are 2 players standing next to each other, they’ll take ~7k damage. If there are 3 players standing next to each other, they’ll take ~10,500 damage, likely dying. Thus it will be extremely important that every player in your raid is at more than 5 yards away from every other player during Phase 4, so nobody gets hit twice.

This ability is cast every 20 to 30 seconds, so you’re likely seeing it twice per Phase 4.

30 to 40 seconds into Phase 4, Illidan will summon 4 Shadow Demons. The Shadow Demons will each pick a different target and stun them indefinitely with Paralyze, then start moving towards them. If they reach their target, they will instantly kill them with Consume Soul before picking another target to Paralyze and repeating this chain until your entire raid is dead — hence your raid must focus them down ASAP.

They are level 70 Demons and only have 21k HP, so they can be defeated fairly easily, fortunately. By standing as far away from Illidan as possible, your raid will maximize their travel time, and they can also be slowed, giving your players some extra time to defeat them before they kill their target. If your Warlock tanking Illidan happens to get targeted by a Shadow Demon, you will need to kill that demon before all others.

Phase 5

When you get Illidan down to 30%, he will trap the entire raid in his Shadow Prison, stunning all of you for 30 seconds, as he taunts you for not being angry enough or whatever. Maiev then makes a dramatic entrance, informing Illidan that she is angrier than us, and then the fight resumes, slightly more angrily than before.

Phase 5 is essentially a replacement of Phase 3. Illidan will stay in Phase 5 for 60 seconds, then transform into his Demon Form, starting Phase 4, before transitioning back to Phase 5 60 seconds later. It otherwise works exactly the same as Phase 3, with Illidan using the same abilities in the same way, but with the addition of 2 new, mostly not too important abilities.

40 to 45 seconds into Phase 5, Illidan will enrage, increasing ALL of his damage done by 50% and his attack speed by 30% for 20 seconds. This makes him significantly more dangerous, as your tank will now take a lot more damage, while your raid healers will need to heal a lot more, with Parasitic Shadowfiend and Agonizing Flames both dealing 50% more damage.

Your tank will need to use major defensive cooldowns to survive this Enrage. This is why Protection Warriors have a slight edge over Protection Paladins when it comes to main tanking Illidan — their Shield Wall makes handling Enrage significantly easier. You can use the Cage Trap to mitigate the Enrage somewhat, as Illidan stops attacking for 15 seconds, but it’s still recommended that your tanks use cooldowns to survive.

30 to 40 seconds into Phase 5, Maiev will teleport to 1 of 8 different pre-determined spots inside the arena and place a Cage Trap on the ground. If Illidan steps on the trap, he will be Caged for 15 seconds, which stuns him and causes him to take double damage. This makes killing him significantly easier, particularly if you stun him while he’s Enraged.

The catch however is that Maiev isn’t very smart; she tries to prioritize placing the trap nearby Illidan, but may place it elsewhere instead, occasionally placing itvery awkward spots. Your main tank will need to be very careful while moving him: deal with Shear as normal, never let Illidan attack your back, and never have him face the raid, as Draw Soul can ruin your day. Many guilds will choose to ignore the trap if it’s placed in a bad spot for this very reason, instead having the tank rely on defensive cooldowns exclusively to survive Illidan’s Enrage.

Resistance Gear

As mentioned previously, besides your regular main tank, your raid will need 2 more tanks using Fire Resistance gear for Phase 2. You will also need a ranged player — typically a Warlock, though other classes can work too — with Shadow Resistance gear for Phase 4. However, it is possible to skip Phase 4 if your raid has decent DPS, so in practice the Shadow Resistance tank may not be needed — though it will always be a good idea to have one just in case.

Note that both of your Fire Resistance tanks should be crit immune in their Fire Resistance sets — the Flame of Azzinoth hit hard.

Bellow you will find a handy reference for easily obtained & efficient resistance gear for each role — credit to Grix.

Fire Resistance

Druid Tank – Leather

Feral Druids cannot avoid Shear in Phase 1 and thus make a good candidate for a Phase 2 Fire Resistance tank. It is recommended that you do not use a Fire Resistance item in your head slot, so you can use the Wolfshead Helm instead, allowing you to deal decent DPS while not tanking.

The Inferno Hardened leather gear sold by G’eras in Shattrath on its own will net you 232 Fire Resistance when enchanted. A cloak with the Fire Resistance enchant will be another very efficient source of Fire Resistance, and 1 more piece of Fire Resistance gear from the list below should get you to about 300 Fire Resistance unbuffed, or 370 resistance with Fire Resistance Totem or Fire Resistance Aura, with the cap being 365.

Fire Res



Paladin / Warrior – Plate

Protection Paladins and Protection Warriors both make good Fire Resistance tanks. If you have 1 of each, it is recommended that you have the Protection Paladin pick up Fire Resistance gear while the Protection Warrior main tanks Illidan, as their strong defensive cooldowns give them a small edge there.

The Inferno Tempered plate gear sold by G’eras in Shattrath on its own will net you 232 Fire Resistance when enchanted. Unlike Feral Druids, plate tanks don’t have a reason to avoid using a Fire Resistance item in the Head slot, so they can instead use the Flamebane Helm enchanted with Glyph of Fire Warding, which is very efficient. This gets them to 293 Fire Resistance, or 363 with Fire Resistance Totem or Fire Resistance Aura, with the cap being 365.

Fire Res


Blacksmithing: Flamebane Helm

Additional Sources of Fire Resistance

If you find that your set barely doesn’t get you to the amount of Fire Resistance you’re aiming for, you could use the following enchants / gems:

Shadow Resistance – Warlock Tank – Cloth

Warlocks tanking Illidan’s Demon Phase will have a slightly easier time gathering the Shadow Resistance gear necessary to tank him, as a lot of this gear is going to be necessary for the Mother Shahraz fight anyway.

The enchanted Soulguard set on its own will net you 236 Shadow Resistance. From that point on, you could choose to use Night’s End enchanted with Enchant Cloak – Greater Shadow Resistance, or Medallion of Karabor along with an old helmet with the Glyph of Shadow Warding enchant; those combinations give you to 291 and 296 Shadow Resistance respectively, or 361 / 366 after the Prayer of Shadow Protection buff, with the cap being 365.

Shadow Res
Tailoring – 1x Heart of Darkness
Tailoring – 2x Heart of Darkness
Tailoring – 3x Heart of Darkness
Tailoring – 2x Heart of Darkness
Quest; Black Temple Attunement
Tailoring – 1x Heart of Darkness

Raid Composition & Preparation

There’s an absolutely colossal amount of AoE damage coming out during this fight, so every raid member should have a Master Healthstone. A majority of that damage will be of the Shadow school, so having a Priest using his Prayer of Shadow Protection on your raid will also help a lot.

This fight is arguably the most healing intensive in the entire tier, and will require your healers to remain focused throughout, following precise healing assignments to avoid accidental deaths. It is recommended that you have at least 5-6 healers for this fight, with a good balance of tank healing classes like Holy Paladins and Restoration Druids, and AoE healing classes like Restoration Shamans and Holy Priests.

Phases 1, 3 and 5 are fairly straightforward. Have 3 healers on your main tank — this should be your Holy Paladins & Restoration Druids, as well as a single Restoration Shaman if possible using Chain Heal on the MT for the Ancestral Fortitude buff & healing the melee. Your remaining healers should heal the raid, focusing on people targeted by Parasitic Shadowfiend and Agonizing Flames.

For Phase 2, it is recommended that you have 2 healers (Holy Paladins / Restoration Shamans) on each Flame of Azzinoth tank, or alternatively 1 single target healer on each of them while your Restoration Druids keep healing-over-time effects on both. Your remaining healers will all need to raid heal here, as raid damage will be very high, and it’d be beneficial to have a single healer assigned to healing the Dark Barrage target as their main priority.

Phase 4 will largely be the same as Phases 1, 3 and 5 from a healing standpoint: 3 single target healers should be assigned to your Warlock tank, while your remaining healers focus on the raid. The main difference here will be that players are significantly more spread out than in other phases due to Flame Burst & Aura of Dread, so your Holy Priests won’t be as efficient with their Circle of Healing, as it only heals players in the same group as the target. Make sure your Restoration Shamans are raid healing here.

Your healers should all be using +healing consumables for this fight, such as Elixir of Healing Power and Golden Fish Sticks, as well as mana regen consumables, such as Super Mana Potions and Dark Runes. If there’s ever a fight to be prepared for, it’s this one — it can last upwards of 10 minutes, with constantly high tank and raid damage, so they’ll really need all the help they can get.

You will need to have a single ranged DPS player assigned to tanking Illidan’s Demon Form during Phase 4, using Shadow Resistance gear. While multiple classes can do this task well enough, Warlocks will be significantly better than most, thanks to their ability to deal high threat with Searing Pain, their Fel Armor increasing the healing they receive, as well as the higher stamina naturally found on their tier gear.

Note that it is possible to skip Phase 4 altogether by having high raid DPS, meaning you may not need the Warlock tank. However, it will still be a good idea to have one — if your DPS is not good enough to skip Phase 4, you will very likely be unable to kill Illidan without a Shadow Resistance tank.

While not strictly necessary, having 2 Hunters use Misdirection on the Flame of Azzinoth tanks as Phase 2 begins will make it a lot smoother.

Your DPS players should be using flasks, buff food, etc for this fight. Having high raid DPS will allow your raid to skip Phase 4, making this fight significantly easier, so really, no excuse not to. Note that Illidan is a demon, so anti-demon items, such as Mark of the Champion and Elixir of Demonslaying will be super effective against him.

Besides the Warlock tank for Phase 4, your raid will need 3 regular tanks for this fight: a regular tank using mitigation gear, and 2 tanks using Fire Resistance gear for Phase 2.

Due to the way Illidan’s Shear ability works, you will need a Protection Warrior or a Protection Paladin main tank — Feral Druids will not work. The main tank should make sure they have 101.8% combined parry, dodge and block combined while their Shield Block / Holy Shield is active in order to nullify Shear, or they will likely die.

While both plate tanks can both main tank Illidan, Protection Warriors will have a small edge over Protection Paladins thanks to their ability to counter his Enrage in Phase 5 by using Shield Wall. Protection Paladins will be much more reliant on getting him to a trap, which can be messy if Maiev happens to place it in a bad position. Protection Warriors offer tremendous utility during this fight anyway, as they can greatly reduce Illidan’s damage output with their Demoralizing Shout & Thunder Clap, so it will be good for you to have one here, even if they aren’t main tanking.

As far as Phase 2 Fire Resistance tanks go, any class works. The only thing that matters is that they can reach the Fire Resistance cap (365) while buffed by Fire Resistance Totem / Fire Resistance Aura, while remaining crit immune, as the Flames of Azzinoth can kill them with unlucky crits. Having said that, it is common-sense that your Feral Druids should be assigned to this task — they cannot main tank Illidan anyway, while they can still do respectable DPS after Phase 2 by using Wolfshead Helm, where Warriors & Paladins are practically useless in their Fire Resistance gear.

The Pull

Illidan’s pull is one of the most straightforward pulls in the game. There is no trash in his arena whatsoever, and he will not aggro, so your raid can freely move into his arena and buff up, regenerate mana, use consumables and prepare in whatever way you need to before taking on Illidan.

illidan stormrage 0

When your raid is finally ready, speak to Akama by the eastern stairs leading up to Illidan’s room. Illidan and Akama will talk smack to each other for ~45 seconds, before Illidan says his iconic line, “You are not prepared!” and finally becomes attackable.

Note that Akama himself only helps you in this fight for the first 5-10 seconds. Illidan will summon multiple demons by the door after the Illidari Council, which Akama will then go and deal with, so your raid doesn’t have to.

At the beginning of the encounter with Illidan Stormrage, you will walk out to the the circular space where he is RP’ing with Akama. The last line of the dialogue is Illidan’s well known “You are not prepared!”, and at this point he will engage with the player closest to him. 

The Fight

Phase 1

Positioning for Phase 1 is very straightforward. Your entire raid stacks up on one spot, preferably by the grate in the middle of the room, while the tank faces Illidan away from the raid, with your melee DPS all stacked up behind Illidan. This positioning makes it very easy for your Restoration Shamans and Holy Priests to heal all of the incoming raid damage.

illidan stormrage 1 2

This phase is extremely easy, intended for your raid to learn Illidan’s mechanics in a low-pressure environment. Therefore it is highly recommended that you don’t use your Heroism / Bloodlust here. Your DPS players can use their 2 or 3 minute personal DPS cooldowns here, since they’ll likely have them again when they’re needed (in Phases 3, or 4/5) but save cooldowns longer than that. Furthermore, it can help if your Hunters use their Misdirection on the tank to help them establish threat, but it is recommended that you save at least 2 Misdirections for Phase 2.

You are most likely going to encounter Illidan’s mechanics in the following order: Shear > Parasitic Shadowfiend > Shear > Flame Crash > Draw Soul > reset. Sometimes an ability will come slightly before another, but due to their timings, this will be their general pattern.

Shear, Flame Crash and Draw Soul are all basically mechanics strictly for your main tank to deal with. Illidan himself hits extremely hard, so their life will already be pretty difficult, so here is a condensed explanation of how to deal with them:

  • Shear: Make sure you always have Shield Block / Holy Shield up, as well as 101.8% total block, dodge and parry with them active
  • Flame Crash: Move Illidan out of the flames quickly after he lands, so your melee can stay behind him and DPS
  • Draw Soul: Make sure Illidan is facing away from your raid at all times, or he will deal heavy damage to each target in front of him & heal himself

Your main tank will always be the only person getting hit by Draw Soul if you’re executing the strategy right. It will be a good idea to have a player assigned to keeping up a healing reduction effect (Mortal Strike / Wound Poison / Aimed Shot, with Mortal Strike being the best option if your raid has an Arms Warrior) on Illidan at all times, reducing the amount of healing he receives from Draw Soul significantly.

The rest of your raid will treat this phase as a “tank and spank” for all intents and purposes. The only mechanic that player besides the tank will really have to deal with here will be Parasitic Shadowfiend, with your raid healers having to keep that target up. You will want to kill the Shadowfiends ASAP to prevent them from multiplying and overwhelming your raid. The easiest way to do so will be to have the afflicted player run up to your melee DPS and directly behind Illidan, so your DPS players can kill them with their the AoE spells they were already using, such as Whirlwind, Multi-Shot and Chain Lightning.

Once Illidan reaches 65% HP, Phase 1 ends and Phase 2 begins.

Phase 2

Phase 2 begins with Illidan flying off and throwing his glaives at the ground near the grate in the middle of the room, with one on the west side, and the other on the east side. A Flame of Azzinoth will spawn from each glaive and begin attacking your raid. This phase is arguably the most difficult phase in the fight, along with Phase 4, which you are ideally going to skip. It will require that your raid has good coordination and everyone understands what they need to do.

Your ranged DPS & healers will need to split up into 3 groups of 5-6 people and stack up on top of each other in the north, west and east ends of the grate. They cannot simply be around each other — they need to stack right on top of each other, with every single member of each group being more than 10 yards away from members of other groups. Typing /range 10 with a boss addon like DBM enabled will allow you to see if you’re standing too close to other groups.

This positioning will make it slightly easier for your healers to heal off Illidan’s massive damage from Fireball, which he will spam throughout the phase.

illidan stormrage 2 2

Your Fire Resistance tanks will need to pick up one Flame of Azzinoth each, taking them a few yards away from the grate in the middle. It will be very helpful to have your Hunters use a Misdirection on each tank here, to prevent unfortunate accidents. Your raid will pick one of the 2 Flames of Azzinoth and focus it down.

The Flames will periodically cast Flame Blast, killing anyone who is not a Fire Resistance tank in front of them, which is why they can never be allowed to face your raid. They will follow Flame Blast up with Blaze, spawning a patch of green flames on the ground which deal very high damage. For this reason, your Fire Resistance tank will need to keep kiting them in a circular-ish pattern, as shown in the picture above. They can start moving as soon as they see the Flame Blast‘s flame breath-ish animation, but they should be careful to not move too much and fill the arena with fire too quickly.

Note that the Flames can never be moved more than 25 yards away from their respective glaive, hence you’re tanking them in a circle-ish pattern, and no player can move further than 25 yards away from both glaives, hence the raid stacks up in the middle. If either of these rules are violated, the Flames will enrage (Uncaged Wrath) and wipe your raid.

Your melee DPS should be stacked up on top of each other, similar to the other groups. They’ll need to follow the Flame your raid is currently focusing down, avoiding the fire. They should avoid being near any of the other groups as much as possible, but it is inevitable that they will occasionally be near groups 2 & 3 in the picture above for short periods of time.

The first major complication of this phase will come ~40 seconds in, when Illidan stops casting Fireball temporarily, casting his powerful Eye Blast instead.

illidan stormrage 2 3

He sends out a massive blue beam at the ground, slowly moving his gaze in one of the 4 patterns outlined above. Anyone that touches the beam will die instantly. Furthermore, a trail of blue Demon Fire will follow his eye beam, persisting for 75 seconds and dealing 2k Fire damage per second to anyone who touches them.

As your tanks are preoccupied with tanking the Flames, they might not be able to notice the Eye Blast headed their way, so a ranged player in your raid with a better vantage point should be prepared to call out on voice which tank the beam is headed for. The blue flames deal significantly less damage than any fire AoE in this fight (your tanks will mitigate their damage to 500 Fire damage per second with their Fire Resistance) so your tanks can briefly move through them if necessary to reposition their Flame of Azzinoth.

Your melee DPS meanwhile should switch target if the Eye Blast is coming towards the Flame of Azzinoth they’re currently attacking. As Illidan uses Eye Blast every 40 seconds and the flames persist for up to 75 seconds, there will be periods of time where there’s multiple patterns of flames up at once — if both sides have a trail of Demon Fire, your melee DPS should stack up on south side of the grate, away from other groups. Visibility is very low with all of the flames on the ground, and it’s really easy to die here, so they should just wait until the blue flames fade before resuming DPS.

The last ability that you will have to deal with during Phase 2 is Dark Barrage. Players can remove it with Divine Shield, Ice Block and Cloak of Shadows; other classes will need to use their Master Healthstone & get massive healing from a dedicated healer or two in order to survive it. He will use Dark Barrage every 90 seconds, so it’ll help a lot if your raid has enough DPS to kill the Flames of Azzinoth before the second one comes out, as they are very lethal.

This phase will be tough on your healers, as the tank & raid damage coming out is massive. Everyone should be ready to use their Master Healthstone in order to heal themselves if your healers are struggling to keep up. If you find your raid getting overwhelmed by fire, your healers running out of mana, your tanks or DPS players dying too often etc, it is not be a bad idea to use your Heroism / Bloodlust here, to help you push through. Ideally, only use it on your ranged DPS groups, as your melee DPS have a low uptime, and save at least 1-2 Heroism / Bloodlust for Phase 3 if possible.

Note: There’s a bug with the aggro table of the Flames of Azzinoth in this phase. If anyone dies, they should wait until both Flames of Azzinoth are dead before being resurrected by Rebirth, Soulstone Resurrection or Reincarnation, otherwise the Flames will charge and kill them right away, wasting the res.

When both Flames of Azzinoth die, Phase 2 ends and Phase 3 begins.

Phase 3  

Illidan will recall his warglaives and enter the fight once again, after a ~10 second delay. Your raid should assume the following positions in that time:

illidan stormrage 4

Phase 3 is basically Phase 1 with the addition of just one new ability, Agonizing Flames, a powerful DoT that gets applied to every player within 5 yards of Illidan’s randomly picked target. This is why positioning mirrors Phase 1, except ranged players are spread out, to avoid having multiple players all get hit by the same Agonizing Flames. Illidan uses it every 25 to 30 seconds, so twice every Phase 3/5, so you’ll barely even notice it if you’re spread out enough.

Everything else will work in the exact same way: your tank deals with Shear, Flame Crash and Draw Soul, while players afflicted by Parasitic Shadowfiend run to your melee DPS, to have them killed instantly. If you handled Phase 2 successfully, Phase 3 will be an absolute breeze.

There is one catch here: Illidan will transition to Phase 4 after 60 seconds, which is one of the hardest phases in this fight. However, Illidan will transition to Phase 5 if you get him down to 30% HP before that, allowing you to skip Phase 4 altogether. Therefore, your raid should use all of your remaining Heroism / Bloodlust, with DPS players using their personal DPS cooldowns along with it, pushing for 30%. Your healers can also help DPS a little with Wrath, Smite & Lightning Bolt when they don’t need to heal — it could make the difference between a successful or failed Phase 4 skip.

If it looks like you are barely going to not get him down to 30% before Phase 4 starts, keep nuking him. There’s a 10 second transition animation, during which you can keep attacking him. Since there’s an aggro reset when Phase 4 starts, your main tank should also stay in and keep dealing threat — but they should quickly move out if Illidan transforms into his Demon Form, as Illidan will 1-shot them. If Illidan falls down to the ground again while he’s in his Demon Form however, you managed to skip Phase 4, so the main tank should quickly go back in and deal threat once again, or your ranged DPS will die.

Phase 4

If you were unsuccessful at skipping Phase 4, you unfortunately have one of the toughest parts of the fight ahead of you, rivaling the difficulty of Phase 2.

illidan stormrage 5 2

Phase 4 plays completely differently to every other phase, and your raid will have to position as follows:

  • Your designated Warlock tank stays far away from other players (more than 20 yards from everyone) while also being more than 20 yards away from Illidan
  • Your healers assigned to the Warlock tank move behind the Warlock, so the Warlock is between their healers and Illidan
  • Your entire raid spreads out at their maximum range, making sure they are more than 5 yards away from any other player
  • Melee and tanks spread out in the back of the room, far away from Illidan. They can only attack the Shadow Demons during this phase

There is a threat reset at the start of this phase to facilitate the necessity of switching a tank. If it doesn’t look like you’re going to skip Phase 4, your Warlock tank should move to their designated position and start spamming Searing Pain on Illidan for threat.

Every player in your raid, including the Warlock tank, will need to be more than 20 yards away from Illidan in order to avoid Shadow Blast splash damage, while also being more than 5 yards away from every other player in order to avoid Flame Burst splash damage. Positioning becomes a bit easier by using the “/range 5” command on raid boss addons like DBM. Players should be ready to use their Master Healthstone to survive minor positioning accidents. Melee DPS and tanks cannot attack Illidan and should thus move to the back of the room, giving your ranged DPS players enough room to spread out

The main difficulty in this phase will be the very high raid damage. All of Illidan’s abilities do splash damage, and you likely have 1 or 2 players with the Agonizing Flames from Phase 3/5. Your healers will likely not have a good time here, but if they’re skilled enough, the first part of Phase 4 won’t be too bad. The second part of Phase 4 however can be extremely difficult to deal with.

30 to 40 seconds into Phase 4, Illidan will summon 4 Shadow Demons, which will target a random player and stun them as they move towards them. If they reach that player, they will instantly kill them and then pick a new target, repeating the process anew. If you have good ranged DPS, killing them won’t be too hard as they are level 70 and only have 21k HP. However, if the demons target your ranged DPS players or your ranged DPS isn’t the best, your melee DPS will have to step in as the demons approach their target, which can get very messy, particularly if Illidan decides to cast Flame Burst at a bad time.

Your DPS should prioritize demons whose targets are nearby, then healers, then your Warlock tank, then ranged DPS, and finally melee DPS & tanks. This mechanic is why players are ideally standing at their maximum range away from Illidan, forcing the demons to cover a larger distance before killing their target. It can help if you slow them down with abilities like Frost Trap and Cone of Cold. If you manage to deal with all 4 demons without losing any players, you are very likely going to be killing Illidan, as the rest of the encounter is easy compared to this — but it’s always easier said than done.

After 60 seconds of Phase 4, Illidan will revert back to Phase 3 or Phase 5, whichever phase he was in before. If you get him down to 30%, however, he will transition to Phase 5. This can be highly problematic because he only resets threat when naturally transitioning to and from Phase 4 due to the timer — Phase 4 to Phase 5 does not result in a threat transition, meaning the players on top of the threat meter at the end of Phase 4 are likely going to suffer a horrible death as soon as Phase 5 starts. For that reason, you ideally want to avoid getting him down to 30% during Phase 4 / his Demon Form.

Phase 5

When you get Illidan down to 30% HP, he will trap your entire raid in Shadow Prison, stunning all of you for 30 seconds. Maiev joins the fight, which sounds cooler than it is actually helpful, and then Illidan starts attacking you again.

Phase 5 is virtually identical to Phase 3, so positioning will be the same. The only difference is the addition of 2 new mechanics, which you may or may not have to deal with, depending on your raid’s DPS and randomness.

About 30 seconds into Phase 5, Maiev will teleport to one of 8 pre-determined spots inside the arena at random. There, she will kneel down and place a Cage Trap. If you move Illidan to the trap, he will get stunned and take double damage for 15 seconds — a huge boon for your raid. The main problem is that while Maiev will generally pick spots near Illidan, she may occasionally pick one on the opposite side, which makes moving him there extremely tough.

illidan stormrage 6 2

Even if you get lucky and she picks a spot near Illidan, it’s important to remember that he’s still using some of his scary abilities, like Shear and Draw Soul. Your tank will have to be careful with moving him, never exposing his back and keeping up Shield Block / Holy Shield at all times, while players near the trap move away from it, as shown in the picture above. Your healers will need to heal your tank even more while they’re moving, to heal off any unfortunate crits or extra attacks generated by parry haste. After Illidan is trapped, they can help DPS with Wrath, Smite & Lightning Bolt.

The traps are there mainly to deal with Illidan’s only new Phase 5 ability, Enrage — which increases his damage by 50% and attack speed by 30% for 20 seconds. Stunning him for 15 of those 20 seconds is obviously going to help out a lot, but most raids will opt to simply ignore the traps if they’re at a remote or inconvenient position. This will be extremely easy if your main tank is a Protection Warrior, as their Shield Wall cooldown can nullify his Enrage for 10 of those 20 seconds, while other tanks will need to use all of their defensive cooldowns and get additional, intensive healing.

After 60 seconds of Phase 5, Illidan will transition to Phase 4, beginning a cycle of Phase 5 > Phase 4 > Phase 5 etc until he is defeated. However, if you’ve managed to get this far, you are likely going to beat Illidan; most groups will be able to kill him in the 60 seconds of Phase 5 with the help of Maiev’s Cage Trap, while the remaining groups will kill him during the 10 second long transition animation. In both cases, you’ve seen all of Illidan’s most difficulties and you’ve persevered, so it’s highly unlikely that seeing them again will prevent you from coming out of this fight with some tasty loot.

Congratulations on besting Illidan! You can now tell your friends and family that you were indeed prepared!


About the Author


Classic WoW is my jam, with a passion for PvP. Most know me as Baranor, the ret paladin guy, but I'm secretly a druid main, don't tell anyone. In my free time I play Switch games, particularly JRPGs. Some day I'll be making my own games and I humbly hope you play those too!
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top