tbc wow serpentshrine cavern raid guide
  • Author: Kurathis
  • Date: August 17, 2021
  • Expansion: TBC Classic

Thanks for taking a look at our strategy guide for Serpentshrine Cavern (SSC) in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic! This magnificent raid is found in Zangarmarsh, inside the Coilfang Reservoir. Serpentshrine Cavern is one of two raids released with Phase 2 content and includes Tier 5 equipment. There are a total of six bosses in Serpentshrine Cavern, and there is no set order in which groups must kill the bosses in order to challenge Lady Vashj, the final boss.

Fights in Serpentshrine Cavern can either be fairly easy, or very challenging – your guild’s communication, trust and overall ability will be tested. Many of the encounters showcase mechanics not yet seen in The Burning Crusade Classic and thus will provide many hours of entertainment to players.

Our guide aims to help you understand how best to prepare for Serpentshrine Cavern by giving you an overview of each encounter, providing an in-depth explanation of each boss, discussing different strategies and how you can set yourself up for success. We also cover the complete attunement process, and how you can reach the entrance.

You can find a full list of Serpentshrine Cavern Drops and Loot over in our loot tool.

Without further ado, let’s get started with Serpentshrine Cavern!


Before entering Serpentshrine Cavern, every member of your raid must have completed the attunement process to acquire The Mark of Vashj to grant them access. This process consists of entering a heroic dungeon and defeating two bosses inside different raids.

For an in-depth explanation of the process, check out our full-length Serpentshrine Cavern Attunement Guide!

Entrance to SSC

The entrance to Serpentshrine Cavern is in the Coilfang Reservoir, which is located in Zangarmarsh, where you will also find The Slave Pens, The Underbog and The Steamvault. To enter Serpentshrine Cavern, players will go through the portal that resembles a waterfall in the middle of Reservoir.

zangarmarsh map ssc
Location of Serpentshrine Cavern in Zangarmarsh Coordinates are 50, 41
wowscrnshot 081121 035047
Exterior view of Serpentshrine Cavern Entrance Portal

Raid Preparation

As with most raids in The Burning Crusade Classic, Serpentshrine Cavern is a 25-man raid. Unlike some raids, Serpentshrine Cavern offers players the flexibility in determining the order in which the defeat the bosses. The most conventional order is:

  1. Hydross the Unstable
  2. The Lurker Below
  3. Morogrim Tidewalker
  4. Fathom-Lord Karathress
  5. Leotheras the Blind
  6. Lady Vashj

tbc wow ssc raid map

Once every raid member is attuned, we would focus on composing the ideal raid group:

  • (4) Tanks: Warrior, Druid, Paladin, (Your choice for 4th)
  • (9) Heals: 3x Paladin, 3x Shaman, 3x Priest
  • (8) Ranged DPS: Shadow Priest, 3x Mage, 2x Warlock, 2x Hunter
  • (4) Melee DPS: Warrior, 3x Rogue

If possible, it’s always recommended to have the best gear that you have access to when trying to progress through new content, especially if the content is brand new to you or your fellow raiders. This can be achieved by completing the Tier 4 raids (Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair, and Magtheridon’s Lair) You may also want to make sure each raider comes prepared with their own supply of consumables such as food, potions, flasks and various elixirs. While players have been able to complete content without using consumables, they’re a great addition to a guild’s progression. Players should also bring any class-specific reagents necessary, such as Symbol of Divinity for Paladins.

Trash Mobs

In Serpentshrine Cavern, all trash mobs are linked to a particular boss, on a two-hour respawn timer. Once their linked boss is defeated, the trash mobs will no longer respawn. The only trash mobs to be pulled individually are Underbog Colossus, leaving the rest to group pulls:

Group A

  • Coilfang Beast Tamer x1
  • Coilfang Hate-Screamer x2
  • Serpentshrine Sporebat x2

Group B

  • Vashj’ir Honor Guard x1
  • Coilfang Shatterer x2
  • Coilfang Priestess x2
  • Greyheart Technician x4

Group C

  • Greyheart Tidecaller x1
  • Coilfang Serpentguard x2
  • Greyheart Skulker x1
  • Greyheart Nether-Mage x1

Group D

  • Coilfang Serpentguard x2
  • Coilfang Fathom-Witch x2

Group E

  • Coilfang Shatterer x1
  • Coilfang Serpentguard x2
  • Coilfang Fathom-Witch x2

Group F

  • Greyheart Shield-Bearer x1
  • Greyheart Nether-Mage x1
  • Greyheart Tidecaller x1

Group G

  • Greyheart Tidecaller x2
  • Greyheart Nether-Mage x1

Group H

  • Greyheart Tidecaller x2
  • Greyheart Skulker x2

Group I

  • Greyheart Shield-Bearer x1
  • Greyheart Nether-Mage x1
  • Serpentshrine Lurker x1
  • Greyheart Tidecaller x2
  • Greyheart Skulker x1

Group J

  • Greyheart Shield-Bearer x1
  • Greyheart Nether-Mage x1
  • Greyheart Skulker x1
  • Greyheart Tidecaller x2

The mobs that will likely provide the biggest challenge will be Coilfang Hate-Screamer since they have an AoE silencing ability, and it is unable to be crowd-controlled. Many of these trash mobs are unable to be crowd-controlled.

Who Can Be Crowd-Controlled?

  • Coilfang Priestess
  • Greyheart Nether-Mage
  • Greyheart Shield-Bearer
  • Greyheart Skulker
  • Greyheart Tidecaller
  • Serpentshrine Lurker (Banishable)
  • Serpentshrine Sporebat (Only when they are not enraged – after you kill Coilfang Beast-Tamer)
  • Tidewalker Warrior (Can use Tranquilizing Shot to remove Enrage)

Boss Encounters

Serpentshrine Cavern is home to six bosses, each offering their own unique twist on game mechanics. In terms of overall difficulty, The Lurker Below would be considered the easiest boss to defeat, while Hydross the Unstable may be viewed as the hardest, only because of how easy it is to wipe on the encounter. For simplicity, we’ll separate each boss encounter into its own explanation to help you fully understand each fight. For more detailed explanations, be sure to check out the links in each section that direct to our in-depth guides for each boss!

Hydross the Unstable

One of the trickier encounters in Serpentshrine Cavern – made only by how easily raid groups can wipe. Hydross the Unstable is an Elemental that can shift between Water and Poison Form, the speed in which is determined by the raid group.

tbc classic hydross the unstable strategy guide (ssc)
Hydross the Unstable

Here is a quick breakdown of the encounter:

  • Tanks – The tank that has 365 Frost Resistance should be tanking Hydross in his Water Form, while the tank that has 365 Nature Resistance should be tanking him in his Poison Form. At four stacks of his corresponding debuff, the tank should bring him past the “boundary” for the other tank to pick up
  • Heals – Healers should remember that between each transition, the threat table is reset, so producing large heals may mean they actually receive aggro, potentially causing a wipe. Healers should also be aware of raid members afflicted with the different debuffs throughout the encounter
  • Ranged DPS – Like Melee DPS, Ranged DPS should be aware of the threat resets, while also moving with the boss to ensure if they DO pull aggro, the boss won’t be running toward the line in which he transitions to a new form. They should switch to the Elemental adds when they spawn
  • Melee DPS – Melee DPS will always be following the boss between each phase. They should switch to the Elemental adds when they spawn

Check out an in-depth breakdown in our guide for Hydross the Unstable!

The Lurker Below

Deemed the easiest boss in Serpentshrine Cavern, The Lurker Below consists of two phases that are repeated throughout the encounter. This fight is made easier with consistent Crowd Control and by avoiding certain damage mechanics.

tbc classic the lurker below strategy guide (ssc)
The Lurker Below

Here is a quick breakdown of the encounter:

  • Tanks – This fight requires three tanks (1 tank for The Lurker Below and 1 add that spawns, and 2 tanks for the adds that will spawn on the middle platform)
  • Melee DPS – Melee DPS will focus on the boss until Phase 2, when he submerges, and then focus on the adds that spawn. During Spout, the Melee DPS should follow its direction in a 360-degree rotation.
  • Ranged DPS – Ranged DPS should be distributed among the exterior platforms, ready to use their abilities to control the adds that will spawn near them. During Spout, Ranged DPS can simply enter the water to avoid its damage
  • Heals – Healers will be among the Melee DPS and tanks, spread out slightly. They can follow the Melee DPS around during Spout

Check out an in-depth breakdown in our guide for The Lurker Below!

Morogrim Tidewalker

One of the more fun encounters for AoE DPS classes such as Warlocks, Morogrim Tidewalker sees groups combat a boss while every little while having twelve Murloc adds join the fray that can be AoE’d down.

tbc classic morogrim tidewalker strategy guide (ssc)
Morogrim Tidewalker

Here is a quick breakdown of the encounter:

  • Tanks – One tank will be tanking Morogrim Tidewalker while (hopefully) two Paladin tanks will be standing in the doorways awaiting the Murloc adds. Once the adds spawn, simply kite them toward the boss so that your raid can AoE them down while also damaging the boss
  • Heals – Healers should be focusing on healing everyone throughout the fight since any DPS or Healer can experience Watery Grave. Once Watery Grave is used, at least one healer should be moving down slightly to heal the affected member in case Earthquake happens soon after
  • DPS – DPS should be focusing on defeating Morogrim Tidewalker, while AoE DPS should also focus on AoEing when the adds come into the field

Check out an in-depth breakdown in our guide for Morogrim Tidewalker!

Fathom-Lord Karathress

An encounter that includes four enemies that you must defeat in order to be successful. The order in which most groups kill them is: Fathom-Guard Tidalvess (Shaman), Fathom-Guard Sharkkis (Hunter), Fathom-Guard Caribdis (Siren), Fathom-Lord Karathress (Main Boss)

tbc classic fathom lord karathress strategy guide (ssc)
Fathom-Lord Karathress

Here is a quick breakdown of the encounter:

  • Tanks – One tank will be on each of the four bosses. Most groups want to have Fathom-Guard Caribdis tanked in a far corner to avoid her healing her teammates.
  • DPS – DPS should follow the assigned kill order, altering it only when casters are set to kill Fathom-Guard Caribdis while melee dps and Hunters are damaging Fathom-Lord Karathress. They should also immediately switch targets to Spitfire Totem whenever it is up
  • Heals – Healers should ensure the tanks’ health is maintained as well as the DPS. They should also be aware of the Spitfire Totem in case DPS can’t defeat it before it starts its damage

Check out an in-depth breakdown in our guide for Fathom-Lord Karathress!

Leotheras the Blind

One of the harder-hitting encounters in Serpentshrine Cavern, Leotheras the Blind sees challenge in phase transitions dropping aggro, and a Whirlwind that spans most of the room when used.

tbc classic leotheras the blind strategy guide (ssc)
Leotheras the Blind

Here is a quick breakdown of the encounter:

  • Tanks – The tank will need to tank Leotheras, and remember that after each Whirlwind and Phase Transition, aggro completely resets so they will need to deal burst threat to maintain aggro
  • Heals – Healers should be aware of any members caught in Whirlwind. Healers should also be aware of their threat output during phase transitions
  • DPS – DPS should focus on defeating the boss while doing their best to avoid Whirlwind damage and completely stopping all damage during the phase transitions

Check out an in-depth breakdown in our guide for Leotheras the Blind!

Lady Vashj

What is usually deemed the final boss in Serpentshrine Cavern, Lady Vashj is an encounter with three phases, two of which are fairly identical with small differences.

tbc classic lady vashj strategy guide strategy guide (ssc)
Lady Vashj

Here is a quick breakdown of the encounter:

  • Tanks – During Phase 1, the encounter is simply a tank-and-spank fight. During Phase 2, though, tanks should be picking up the Elite adds that are spawned. During Phase 3, the fight is the same as Phase 1
  • Heals – Healers should be aware of their assigned tank during Phase 1 & 3 since it is mostly a tank-and-spank encounter during those times. During Phase 2, focus should be on everyone and the player kiting the Strider
  • DPS – During Phase 1 & 3, they should be focused on defeating the boss. During Phase 2, DPS should be focusing on the adds that are spawning. During Phase 2, the player assigned to kiting the Strider should focus solely on that

Check out an in-depth breakdown in our guide for Lady Vashj!


Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
20 days ago

Shit comp

20 days ago

this is the one of the worst setups i’ve seen in my life, please don’t make a guide ever again

19 days ago

Really? These setups being listed are bordering on deliberately bad. Like, if you drew lots to pick random players to invite from your server, you’d get a better setup about as often as not. And the tactics listed are just about useless, spouting banalities like “move out of the fire guys” instead of saying anything that “actually matters”. Take Lady Vashj for instance: It tells you to CC mind controlled players, which you cannot do anyway because they are immune, but putting that aside the non-banal level of advice would be things like suggesting melees unequipping their weapons as MC timer approaches and offtanks perhaps taunting them, assigning locks to put tongues on MCd casters and setting up an interrupt rotation, that sort of things.

Reply to  Youremom
10 hours ago

Yes. Really. Go back to your icy veins strategy guide “Youremom” (YOU ARE MOM??) if you don’t like this one. No need to make different names to bash someone trying to help other raiders.

Scroll to Top