- Author: Kyrasis
- Date: February 13, 2021
- Expansion: World of Warcraft
In this section, we will review how to approach each dungeon affix, if any specific information applies. Affixes are not mentioned if they involve no specific counterplay or useful information.
[Tormented] – The seasonal affix for 9.1 spawns 4 preset mini-bosses in 4 preset locations within each dungeon. Each mini-boss provides a choice of three preset anima powers based on the exact mini-boss you killed, though they are not worth any trash count. If you do not kill a miniboss, its unique debuff aura ability is transferred to the boss.
In general, you want to select the following anima powers from each mini-boss:
Incinerator Arkolath – [Crumbling Bulwark]
5% passive versatility is always welcome and the damage reduction effect helps when initiating pulls, so, at this time, it is expected that this benefit will be the best choice. While 8% mastery with high uptime would normally be a contender, the fact that it would not be active below 70% health with [Champion’s Brand] means we won’t benefit from it when we really need it. On the other hand, [The Fifth Skull] provides decent damage output, but the damage isn’t as effective as it appears on damage meters since it is only active on 5+ target pulls and capped at 5 targets.
Oros Coldheart – It Depends
None of the options are too impactful and their utility is situational. As such, there is no clear method of determining which power would be better in any given dungeon. Pick between these options depending on whether or not you think a movement speed buff on pull will have value, whether the AoE damage reduction will have value, or whether you’ll have enough interrupt opportunities to get meaningful damage buff uptime for the remainder of any given dungeon.
Soggodon the Breaker – [The Stone Ward]
We already do a good job at mitigating magic damage and [The Stone Ward] will simply provide more of a benefit over the course of the dungeon. [Dripping Fang] will almost certainly not provide as much healing in any realistic situation.
Executioner Varruth – [The Stygian King’s Barbs]
The damage of this trait is very strong in all situations. [Siegebreaker’s Stand] can theoretically do more damage (while also providing some mitigation and EHP) with high enough uptime, but, at this time, it is not expected that players will be able to maintain enough uptime to make it the best choice.
Note, Oros Coldheart gives relatively low-impact anima powers to all roles and Soggodon the Breaker gives mitigation-only powers, so it is likely a time gain to skip these mini-bosses if you think it is possible to kill the last boss without their anima powers and with the associated debuff auras active on the last boss, especially since the mini-bosses are not worth count.
On the other hand, because Incinerator Arkolath and Executioner Varruth provide damage-increasing anima powers, it will benefit your group for a larger portion of the dungeon the earlier you are able to kill these mini-bosses.
When it comes to actually killing them, it’s possible to do most of them with some trash and it is beneficial to do so when it can be done at an acceptable risk. However, Executioner Varruth, in particular, is hard to do with much else and he is especially unfriendly towards BDKs because we rely on healing for the majority of our mitigation. Relevant mini-boss specific information is provided as follows:
Incinerator Arkolath – A random target delayed AoE ground ability with a persisting effect, an interruptible lethal AoE nuke, and high rot damage on the group.
Oros Coldheart – A random target delayed frontal cone, a DoT debuff that damages a player and all players near them, dodgeable ground AoE zones, and AoE snare aura.
Soggodon the Breaker – Periodic group AoE damage, a mild tankbuster, an AoE grip/root/delayed stomp, and amplified physical damage taken on the group.
Executioner Varruth – A tankbuster with a bleed on the tank, a random target AoE damage with a bleed effect, an AoE nuke that fears isolated players, and a healing received reduction aura (this aura does not reduce absorbs).
+4 Weekly Affixes
[Bolstering] – Bolstering health and damage bonuses are applied multiplicatively and when enemies gain increased health it is based on their current health (not maximum health). The biggest impact we have on this affix is by designing routes so that they are not heavily impacted by this affix. This involves:
- Designing pulls where all enemies have similarly sized health pools and will die at around the same time (to minimize the amount of health added to enemies).
- Making use of “out of combat” CC, such as [Sap] and [Imprison], or 30+ yard range to avoid giving [Bolstering] stacks to high health mobs in groups with large health disparities where low health enemies *WILL* die long before high health enemies.
- Limiting the use of chain-pulling and doing trash with bosses (unless the boss will die first or if higher health enemies have their health reduced first before chaining in lower health enemies).
Within the pull itself, all we can do are two things:
- Attempt to focus down high health enemies in individual pulls to minimize the effect of [Bolstering].
- Anticipate ahead of time if kiting will be necessary once some [Bolstering] stacks start going out, since incoming damage can significantly increase.
[Bursting] – The general counterplay to this affix is to either kill all enemies at the same time or to kill them with enough time in between for [Bursting] not to stack excessively; both of these strategies minimize the damage done by the affix. The *application* of [Bursting] stacks can be immuned with [Anti-Magic Shell].
[Inspiring] – Preassigned enemies have a 15 yard aura, granting immunity to crowd control and interrupt effects, but this aura does not affect the enemy with the aura and it will not affect nearby enemies if those enemies are at a sufficiently lower elevation. There are a few ways to interact with this affix:
- Strategically avoid certain packs because of the [Inspiring].
- Do nothing special if the cost of not having CC is low.
- Crowd control the enemy with [Inspiring] to combine with a future pull where it will be less problematic or to chain it in once other problematic enemies are defeated. Enemies with [Inspiring] do not provide their aura when controlled with [Control Undead].
[Raging] – As a tank, the main thing to be mindful of with [Raging] is knowing when kiting might be necessary to stay alive. A 75% damage increase on enemies needs to be respected and it can very easily make abilities extremely dangerous. Using soothes and staggering the health of enemies so that they don’t all hit 30% health at the same time can mitigate the effects of the affix, but you’ll need to rely on your group members to do both of these things.
[Sanguine] – The normal counterplay to [Sanguine] is to either kill all enemies at the same time or to make sure that you move enemies away from fresh corpses before they can be healed by the resulting [Sanguine] pools. Complications only arise when enemies are stunned, strongly snared, casting/ranged attacking in place, and/or “fleeing” in sanguine pools, as well as when players don’t leave themselves enough floor space to properly manage the abilities of existing mobs. Engage in the following behavior to mitigate potential issues:
- Attempt to fight enemies in areas where there is enough space to drop sanguine pools *and* deal with their mechanics.
- Avoid stunning and snaring enemies when other enemies are about to die.
- Use knockback abilities such as [Death Grip] and [Gorefiend’s Grasp] to either move enemies out of sanguine or to knock low-health enemies away from higher health knockback-immune targets.
- Use stuns and snares to isolate low-health targets away from other enemies.
- Use line of sight, if needed, to move ranged attackers and casters.
- Attempt to kill relatively immobile enemies first, when possible.
- Again, killing enemies at roughly the same time can prevent [Sanguine] healing, even if some enemies are stacked on top of each other.
[Spiteful] – Defeating enemies spawn a Spiteful Shade that fixate random non-tank party members and attempt to hit them with *HIGH* damage melee attacks. They lose 8% max health every second they are alive. They spawn in an area around the defeated enemy and they are capable of melee attacking nearby targets, on spawn, before their fixate begins. This affix can be mitigated as follows:
- Killing enemies evenly so every Spiteful Shade spawns at the same time and there is nothing left to attack can simplify management, since the party won’t need to worry about performing other actions.
- In general, the tank can help all party members more efficiently deal with this affix by kiting the pack away from any Spiteful Shade.
- Snares, stuns, and knockbacks, can keep any Spiteful Shade away from its target. As a BDK, this means [Death and Decay] with [Grip of the Dead], [Asphyxiate], and possibly [Chains of Ice] can be used to suppress them, when warranted.
- After all enemies are dead, actively damaging any remaining Spiteful Shade can help the group drop combat faster if you are in a dungeon where mounting is possible.
+7 Weekly Affixes
[Explosive] – We should be helping out when our positional requirements allow us to, since we’re less likely to waste damage overkilling the orbs compared to other classes. They can only be killed with [Heart Strike], [Marrowrend], [Death’s Caress] and [Death Strike]. [Heart Strike] in particular, can cleave off of an [Explosive] orb and potentially generate extra RP, so that is the preferred method.
[Grievous] – You’ll be affected by a [Grievous] debuff when your health drops below 90%, this debuff stacks up to 4 over time and deals environmental max health %-based healing that does not contribute towards [Death Strike] healing. The standard way to remove this debuff is for the affected player to be healed above 90% health, though it can also be removed by bleed removals (though the stacks will immediately start coming back if the player remains below 90%). BDK’s have a lot more control over their health bars than other tanks, so there is some value in tracking your own [Grievous] stacks and removing them at good opportunities. While you don’t want to lose *too* much [Death Strike] efficiency to manage this debuff, a max stack [Grievous] can put you behind on your mitigation if it stays up for too long. The only three sources of healing a BDK has to clear [Grievous] stacks without healing above 90% health are [Sacrificial Pact], [Death Pact], and [Death Coil] while under the effects of [Lichborne], but none of these abilities worth using explicitly for this purpose unless you are in a very peculiar scenario.
[Necrotic] – As a tank that uses self-healing for the majority of our mitigation and no natural way to clear bleeds, [Necrotic Wound] is incredibly dangerous for our survivability, since our external healing requirements will increase exponentially with each stack. Even though it results in a loss of dps for our group, the only reliable method of countering this affix is frequent kiting when stacks get too high. So, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- To reset stacks, our go-to is going to be using [Death and Decay] with [Grip of the Dead] for kiting, since it’s a powerful AoE snare on a low cooldown. [Phial of Serenity] is also an instant reset, while [Door of Shadows] or [Soulshape] can further support kiting (if the appropriate covenant).
- Stacks of [Necrotic Wound] are only applied on auto-attack hits, so attacks that are parried or dodged will not apply stacks. While it’s not a reliable method of resetting stacks, [Dancing Rune Weapon] can greatly slow stack acquisition.
- Dungeon bosses and lieutenant mobs only apply [Necrotic Wound] on every other connecting attack, so you’re more likely to naturally reset stacks on these bosses without kiting.
[Quaking] – The counterplay here is straightforward; just try to stay spread out. Since you are the tank, you have the privilege/curse of wanting to move as little as possible, so that enemies aren’t moving significantly and the rest of your melee can have an easier time avoiding [Quaking] damage while continuing to deal damage. It’s important to note that damage taken from this affix *DOES NOT* contribute to [Death Strike] healing, since it counts as friendly fire.
[Storming] – Each enemy will periodically spawn a forming tornado in the area around that enemy’s location. After a few seconds, the full tornado will form and will spiral into a clockwise path with the spawn point as its center. The tornado disappears after 10 seconds or when colliding with players. If they hit a player they will deal damage and apply a knockback. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- [Anti-Magic Shell] and [Death’s Advance] can be used to mitigate the damage and knockback from a tornado, respectively, if they are, for whatever reason, not going to be avoidable.
- Since tornadoes rotate around their spawn and spawns are based on enemy locations when they are created, constantly moving a pack can help you and your party more easily avoid them.
[Volcanic] – Each enemy will periodically spawn a volcanic eruption in the area of a player beyond a certain minimum range from that enemy. The eruptions will explode after a second, dealing a base of 20% HP fire damage to the player and knocking them into the air. In particular, BDK’s are able to use [Death’s Advance] to immune the knockback if you know you are going to take a hit and [Anti-Magic Shell] can be used to absorb the damage [Volcanic] does. Like everyone else, our main defense against this affix is to not stand in the [Volcanic] spawns. However, it is important to keep in mind that certain position-specific strategies may be harder to execute on these weeks and that some dungeon abilities can make [Volcanic] spawns unavoidable, at times.