Saturday, 30 April 2011

Raid Encounter Guides - Sinestra (Bastion of Twilight)

Sinestra, Consort of Deathwing, is the optional, Heroic-only end boss in the Bastion of Twilight. To even reach her you must kill Cho’gall on Heroic mode, which opens a trapdoor down into the deep cavern where Sinestra dwells with her eggs.
The Sinestra fight is both fun and challenging. The DPS check is extremely tight, which in turn makes the healing check fairly tight as well, as you will be hard pressed to run more than 5 or 6 healers. You will only need 2 tanks. Your healers will need to be able to dispel magic.
I’ll break this guide down into an Ability list, a simple breakdown of the phases, then a detailed look at some of the more critical aspects of the fight.
Mana Barrier - Envelops the caster in a powerful barrier that continually replenishes any lost health, at the expense of the caster’s mana.
Flame Breath - Deals 95000 to 105000 Fire damage to all enemies in front of the caster.

Twilight Blast - Blasts an enemy for 166250 to 183750 Shadow damage
Wrack - Deals increasing Shadow damage over one minute. When dispelled bounces to two nearby allies of the afflicted player.

Twilight Slicer - Beam of concentrated twilight energy, dealing 50,000 Shadow damage every 0.3 seconds to any enemy in contact with it.

Twilight Pulse - Deals 27000 to 33000 damage every 0.5 seconds to enemies within 10 yards.
Twilight Extinction - Deals 475000 to 525000 Shadow damage to all enemies within reach.
Twilight Spit - Spits Twilight energy at an enemy, dealing 3800 to 4200 Shadow damage and increases Shadow damage taken by 10%. Stacks.
Twilight Essence - Deals 9250 to 10750 Shadow damage to enemies within the bubbling Essence. Dropped by whelps the first time they die; revives any whelps who die within the pool.
Unleash Essence - Releases a torrent of twilight energy that afflicts all nearby enemies, dealing damage equal to 10% of their maximum health every second.
Indomitable - Regains control through a surge of sheer will, becoming immune to all bonds and restraints until stopped. Deals 40000 Shadow damage to enemies within 10 yards and knocks them back.
Twilight Drake
Twilight Breath - Deals Shadow damage in a frontal cone.
Fiery Barrier - Protects nearby allies from dark magic, reducing their Shadow damage taken by 99%.
Essence of the Red - The blessing of Alexstrasza is applied to all allies nearby. Restores 5% of maximum mana per second. Grants 100% melee, ranged, and spell haste. Lasts for 3 minutes.
Pyrrhic Focus - Evelops the caster in a fiery aura that continually restores mana at the expense of the caster’s health.
Phase 1
When you first engage Sinestra, she is afflicted by a debuff that causes her abilities to do 40% less damage and she begins the fight with 40% less HP. This first phase is primarily a DPS burn - Sinestra needs to be burned from 60% HP down to 30% as quickly as possible, ideally avoiding a third Whelp spawn and a second Wrack.
Sinestra’s primary ability is Flame Breath, a raid-wide AoE attack which she casts every 20 seconds. 
The whelps spawn every 50 seconds and should be picked up by the off-tank. Ideally you want to avoid a third whelp spawn. The whelps tend to aggro onto the healers, so it’s usually best for the OT to position near the healers.
You will get at least one Wrack during this phase. Wrack is a minute long debuff which needs to be dispelled off of afflicted targets well before this duration is up - this debuff applies increasing Shadow damage over time and will kill anyone affected long before the minute is up. When dispelled (or when the target dies, from Wrack or something else), the Wrack will jump to two other friendly targets. Careful control of Wrack dispels is crucial to avoid it getting out of control. It’s usually best to assign one person to handle dispels, with another as backup. Detailed discussion of Wrack is below.
You will also get 2-3 Twilight Slicers in this phase, so your raid needs to be positioned and prepared to deal with those. Detailed discussion of the Twilight Slicers is below.
Raid damage is pretty light in Phase 1 until the first Flame Breath, so any healers not worrying about tanks should DPS as much as they can in Phase 1, at least until that first breath goes out.
Phase 2
Phase 2 begins when Sinestra reaches 30% health. She will cast Mana Barrier on herself, healing herself to full. She will begin to cast Twilight Extinction, so it’s imperative the raid moves quickly to the back of the room to where the friendly NPC Calen has joined the fray. Calen will cast Fiery Barrier, and all raid members must ensure they are inside the barrier, as it will protect them from Twilight Extinction.
The whelps from Phase 1 should be brought to the back of the room with the rest of the raid and AoE’d down in a pile. The dead whelps will create a pool of Twilight Essence when they die the first time which will resurrect them - the respawned whelps need to be picked back up and AoE’d down again, ensuring they die outside of the pool. They will not create a puddle when they die the second time.
There are several things to deal with once the Fiery Barrier drops.
Spitecallers will spawn from the entry tunnel and will largely be handled by your melee DPS and the whelp tank. The Spitecallers will continuously try to cast Unleash Essence, which will very likely lead to a raid wipe if successfully cast, so a careful interrupt rotation needs to be in place. Ordinary interrupts (Kick, Mind Freeze, etc) can NOT be used though - detailed explanation on the Spitecallers is below.
Your range DPS (and possibly some melee) should head back to Sinestra and the two Pulsing Twilight Eggs on either side of Sinestra, the paths to which are no longer protected by fire. The range DPS should be DPSing Sinestra as soon as they can leave the Fiery Barrier to force her to remove the Twilight Carapace which protects the eggs to shield herself. DPS should be split evenly to kill the Eggs the second the Twilight Carapace is removed. DPS needs to be strong and fast to kill the eggs before Sinestra replaces the Twilight Carapace - if the Eggs don’t die before the Carapace is replaced, you will likely wipe. You may want to pot on the eggs to avoid Phase 2 wipes due to slow DPS. You should also try to maximize DPS time on the eggs, predotting while finishing DPS on Sinestra until she removes the Twilight Carapace from the eggs so that you can open full blast and already have DoTs ticking without losing DPS time on the eggs.
There will also be Twilight Drakes spawning in this phase which should be picked up by the Sinestra tank. These can be DPS’d after the Eggs die by the ranged DPS as the raid is getting back into position. The Drakes do a frontal cone but do not do much damage otherwise.
Spitecaller and Drake spawns are somewhat subject to RNG, and there can be a bit of luck involved in how many spawn. Fast DPS on the Eggs can also help to push past late spawns.
Healing is again light in this phase - your two tanks will need healing and a healer can also cast some heals onto Calen (who will be afflicted by Pyrrhic Focus). Unless an Unleash Essence gets off, there will be no other healing needed, so any healers with decent DPS should be assisting on Eggs or Spitecallers (Druids, Priests, and Shaman are generally best, whereas Pallies can remain on the tanks).
Phase 3 will begin when the two Eggs die.
Phase 3
Phase 3 begins when the two Pulsing Twilight Eggs are dead. Finish up any remaining Drakes and Spitecallers as she transitions and return to your Phase 1 positioning.
Phase 3 is the same as Phase 1 in terms of abilities - Sinestra will continue to cast Flame BreathWrack will be going out to the raid, Whelps will spawn, and there will be more Twilight Slicers to avoid.
Sinestra has healed herself to full, however, so she is back to full health and to full ability power - all of her abilities will now be hitting 40% harder than they did in Phase 1. It is imperative raid members be topped off before every Flame Breath or they will die.
To help with the increase in Sinestra’s health and damage, Calen casts Essence of the Red on the raid, granting 100% melee, ranged, and spell haste, and restoring 5% of maximum mana per second. This buff lasts for 3 minutes, and ideally you want to get Sinestra down to at least 20% health when this buff falls off.
Good handling of the whelps in this phase is important, as you will be getting many more waves than in phase 1. You will want to have members turn and kill the whelps before they get out of control to prepare for subsequent waves. It is helpful to have a Paladin as your OT for the whelps, as they can bubble off the stacks of Twilight Spit in between waves. You may also wish to have your OT and MT swap partway through phase 3 for the stacks to fall again.
Wrack must also be kept under good control. As of 4.1, Wrack avoids jumping to tanks, which is extremely helpful in controlling it (as it generally would need to be instantly dispelled off tanks in phase 3).
It is crucial the Wrack debuff is appropriately handled throughout Phase 1 and Phase 3. It is generally best to assign one person to handle the Wrack dispels. It is useful for all healers to pick up a magic dispel to be ready as backup should the designated dispeller die or need assistance.
Wrack - Deals increasing Shadow damage over one minute. When dispelled bounces to two nearby allies of the afflicted player. If a person dies with Wrack on them, it will also bounce to two other raid members.
It’s best to keep Wrack on as few people as possible, so timing the dispels well is essential. You will need a way to see how long the Wrack debuff has been on a target for. For those who use Vuhdo, enter Wrack as a custom debuff and ensure ‘Alive Time’ is ticked. For those who use Grid, the addon GridStatusSinestra will monitor it.
The first Wrack of each set applied you ideally want to dispel at around 18 seconds. In Phase 3 especially, you will likely want to cooldown the target, with something like Guardian Spirit. For later Wracks and the Wrack jumps, you will want to dispel between roughly 10-18 seconds, dependent on Sinestra’s Flame Breath timer (particularly in Phase 3), the person’s HP, what class they are (and whether they have a personal cooldown to help mitigate it), what cooldowns are available to them, and how many Wracks are out.
It is extremely helpful to have one of your raid healers focus on healing targets with Wrack to ensure they are getting enough heals and that they are topped off before each Flame Breath.
As of 4.1, Wrack will avoid jumping onto tanks, which is incredibly helpful for managing Wrack. Should Wrack jump onto a tank in phase 3, they will likely need to be instantly dispelled, as the incoming damage will be too great to add a Wrack on top of that.
The Spitecallers in Phase 2 are tricky adds to deal with. It’s crucial their cast, Unleash Essence, doesn’t get off. Normal interrupts and stuns do NOT work on the adds - if you try to interrupt with Kick, Mind Freeze, Pummel, or stun with a Hammer of Justice, Charge, Death Coil, etc, the Spitecaller will gain Indomitable - Regains control through a surge of sheer will, becoming immune to all bonds and restraints until stopped. Deals 40000 Shadow damage to enemies within 10 yards and knocks them back.
If the Spitecaller gains Indomitable, it will almost certainly get off a cast of Unleash Essence, which will lead to a lot of unnecessary raid damage and very likely lead to the whelp tank’s death (as the stacks of Twilight Spit could lead to a one-shot).
Instead, you need to use controls which break on damage to interrupt the cast. Some you can use are Gouge (Glyph of Gouge is extremely helpful), Blind, Death Grip, Hibernate, etc. (I don't particularly recommend Hibernate, as it has a cast time which is the same length as the Unleash Essence cast).
Gouge is most reliable for the interrupt used. Death Grips can be helpful as the adds spawn - it can whip the Spitecaller away from the entrance point, helping to make the next add spawned easier to target should the first Spitecaller still be up when the new one spawns.
Whelps spawn every 50 seconds in Phase 1 and 3. Their main attack is Twilight Spit as well as melee hits, which in itself are not very hard, however the Twilight Spit causes a stacking debuff which increases Shadow damage taken by 10%. As more of these adds are up, the tank handling the whelps will take increasing damage. A paladin tank is very helpful on the whelps as they can bubble off the stacks.
When the whelps first die, they create pools of Twilight Essence, which deals Shadow damage to raid members standing in them and will resurrect any whelps dead in them. The pools are only created the first time the whelps die, so when they resurrect they should be moved outside of the pool to be killed a second time.
The whelps from phase 1 which are killed at the phase 2 transition should ideally be killed in the back as out of the way as possible to ensure the pool is out of the way. In phase 3 the whelp deaths need to also be controlled, ideally the first waves dying towards the back of the room and away from the raid. Generally ranged should be able to turn and kill the whelps when called for it. 
How you kill the whelps (AoE’d down at once or dropped in singles) and after how many waves each time comes down to your raid’s strategy, but ultimately it’s crucial the pools are kept as small and out of the way as possible.
Twilight Orbs/Slicers
Welcome to Cutters 4.0! 
Throughout Phase 1 and 3 Twilight Orbs will spawn and target random raid members. It is extremely important to note: The Twilight Orbs do NOT place a debuff on their targets! The orbs affix to their targets with a thin purple tether. The Twilight Orbs will spawn and within a few seconds tether to their target, then a large Twilight Slicer will connect between the two Orbs and the Orbs will chase their target. 
The two Orbs need to be kited away from the raid such that the Twilight Slicer doesn’t lop anyone’s head off (including the kiters). The two kiters will need to find a way to loop around each other so that they avoid killing each other and get back to their original position quickly to maximize DPS time. 
The Orbs themselves do Twilight Pulse, which deals 27000 to 33000 Shadow damage every 0.5 seconds to enemies within 10 yards, so both raid members and kiters need to get clear of the Orbs. They do not begin pulsing until about 5 seconds after they spawn.
If the tethered person dies for any reason - the Orb will retarget onto a high aggro target, usually a healer. The purple tether will not reappear - the Orb will simply drift towards its aggro target. The raid must be prepared should the original tether dies (though ideally they will not).
Positioning in Phase 1 and 3 can be the same and should be set up to maximize the space for the kiters. An L-shape is often successful or other various lines to allow raiders to move out and away before looping back to their original position.
Spatial awareness is critical for the Slicers as there is no debuff or other marker on Orb targets. The thin, purple tether to the targeted player is all there is to notify which is the Orb’s target, so players need to notice when and where the orbs are spawning, spot the tether, and adjust to avoid the orbs or to kite as necessary.
Good Luck and Have Fun!

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