The Vault of Archavon (VOA) is a 10 or 25 player raid found in Wintergrasp Keep. This location makes it different from other raids, due to the fact that the keep is in a PVP zone and changes hands every few hours as the battle for Wintergrasp is fought. When your faction holds the keep you can join a raid group and enter VOA, however if your faction doesnt hold the keep you need to wait until they do.
The other thing that makes VOA different from other raids is the loot that is available there. Each boss can drop PvP or PvE gear of varying quality, for any class or spec in the game. This makes loot quite random, as a piece of gear may drop for a spec or class that is not present, or all PVP gear could drop, or all PVE gear could drop. The randomness to the loot frustrates many players. It also means that groups should attempt to bring as many different classes and specs as possible so that most loot can be used.
The raid currently contains three bosses, but has expanded from one on initial release. Currently in ascending order of difficulty the bosses are: Archavon the Stone Watcher, Emalon the Storm Watcher, and Koralon the Flame Watcher. While we will describe the fights and strategies in this order, realize that most groups will start with the hardest boss first. That way if they fail to down him, they are not saved to a failed group and can instead look for a better group of raiders. If you are raiding with your guild, then this is not an issue and you can do the bosses in any order.
Archavon the Stone Watcher
Archavon is a pretty simple fight that is a DPS race due to his 5 minute enrage timer. While he has a few abilities that need to be dealt with, nothing is overly complicated. He does, however, require two tanks due to his abilities.
Rock Spikes Roughly every 30 seconds Archavon will launch a barrage of rock spikes at a random player. They can not be avoided and cause damage to the player and anyone nearby.
Crushing Leap Roughly every 30 seconds Archavon will leap at a random player and knock them back. He will then cast a choking cloud and then return to the tank.
Choking Cloud The choking cloud is an AOE damage effect that stays in place for roughly 20 seconds before dissipating. While active anyone in it or moving through it will suffer damage every second.
Lunge This is the ability that takes the current main tank out of combat and is preceded by the emote Archavon the Stone Watcher lunges for <name>. He will grab that player and hold them for 8 seconds and inflict damage to them during that time, then throw them across the room.
Archavon Fight Strategy
The fight starts with both tanks engaging Archavon and fighting for threat to ensure both are ahead of all other players. Ranged DPS and healers need to spread out around the room to minimize the damage taken from Archavons AOE abilities. While you should have some distance between everyone, you also want to be close together so that everyone can be healed and players are not running all over. Once everyone is in place DPS can lay into Archavon.
When rock spikes are shot at a ranged player if no one else is near simply stand in place and take the hits. If someone is near, move away from them. If someone in melee is targeted, the tank should move the boss away, while the targeted player moves away in an opposite direction. In general though, you want as few people moving as possible.
When Archavon leaps at a player and places a choking cloud, everyone simply needs to move out of the cloud area and wait for Archavon to return to the tank. The distance and time that it takes Archavon to return is based on how far players are standing apart. This means that while you should not group up, you should also not stand 30+ yards away from each other.
When Archavon lunges at a tank and removes them from the fight, the other tank simply picks up tanking duty. When the first tank is release they can either become the off tank waiting to resume tanking the next time Archavon lunges or if they are geared significantly better, taunt off the other tank and resume being the main tank.
Thats all there is to the fight. Keep in mind that you need to have enough DPS to down him quickly as you only have 5 minutes before he enrages and starts one-shotting players. You do not need a huge amount of DPS though since he only has 2.3 million health in 10 player raids and 10 million in 25 player raids. If all DPS players are above 2,000 DPS each you will have more than enough to beat the enrage timer.
Emalon the Storm Watcher
Emalon the Storm Watcher is a boss in VOA that is accompanied by a group of four guards called Tempest Minions. These guards respawn whenever they are killed, therefore DPS should not be wasted on them other than when required. Instead they are simply held by the off-tank. Emalon himself has a few abilities that need to be watched for, while the guards main ability is to explode when overcharged.
Chain Lightning This spell hits the target and then bounces to additional nearby targets increasing the damage it causes to each subsequent target.
Lightning Nova This is an AOE damage attack that Emalon casts roughly every 20 seconds. It hits everyone nearby for a large amount of damage, and will wipe most non-tank players. The damage it causes is maximized if you are within 20 yards of Emalon. Lightning Nova has a long cast time though, so melee DPS has a plenty of time to get away.
Overcharge Emalon casts this ability on one of the Tempest Minions 45 seconds after the last overcharge ended. It applies a stacking buff to one of the minions that grants 20% extra damage caused and grows the minion to roughly double the size. A new stack of the buff is granted every 2 seconds, and when the stack hits 10 the minion will explode causing significant damage and most likely wiping the raid.
Emalon Fight Strategy
This fight requires two tanks each with their own healer(s), or healers alternating tanks from a central position. The fight is started by the off-tank engaging the adds and Emalon to establish aggro and then moving to one side of the room. The main tank then pulls Emalon off of the off-tank and drags him to the opposite side of the room. Normally the off-tank goes left of the door and the main tank goes right, however either side, or front and back work just as well.
Once the tanks are in position, ranged and healers setup more than 20 yards away from Emalon and in range of both him and the minions. They also need to spread out as much as possible so that any chain lightnings that are cast at the group do not bounce through too many targets. Melee DPS then starts in on Emalon.
When lightning nova is cast all melee needs to run at least 20 yards away from Emalon before he finishes the cast. Once nova goes off they can run back in to DPS.
When overcharge is cast, one of the minions will be healed to full health and grow in size to roughly twice as large. All DPS must immediately switch to this minion and kill it within 20 seconds. If it lasts longer than that it will explode, wiping the raid. Since overcharge is on a 45 second timer you can start moving to the minions before they actually get overcharged, that way you can start DPS faster. Once the minion dies, DPS goes back to Emalon. A new minion will spawn by Emalon and the off-tank needs to pick him up and drag him back to the add location.
[protip]A Hunter or Rogue misdirecting to the add tank can greatly simplify the fight for the off-tank. It is not required, but lessens the chance that a minion will be loose for any amount of time when a new one spawns.[/protip]
The fight rotates between getting away from lightning novas, killing minions, and avoiding chain lightnings. You have 6 minutes to deal with Emalon before he enrages and wipes the raid. As long as all DPS players are causing more than 2,500 DPS you should be able to beat the enrage timer.
Koralon the Flame Watcher
Koralon is a fire based boss found in VOA. While he does not have any adds he does have the most treacherous of all WoW abilities: dropping fire pools that players have to avoid and not stand in. For some reason, this is an ability that has been around forever but very few WoW players can remember or live by the mantra thou shall not stand in fire. You figure they would learn this from real life and apply it to the game, but common sense is not too common apparently.
Burning Fury This is a stacking buff that Koralon applies to himself every 20 seconds after he is engaged. For each stack on him he causes an extra 5% damage.
Burning Breath When cast Koralon spins around breathing on everyone in the raid, causing significant fire damage each second for three seconds.
Flaming Cinder Koralon targets a random player and hits them and anyone near them (roughly 5 yards) for fire damage. The attack also leaves a pool of fire on the ground that will burn for roughly 20 seconds. Anyone in or moving through the fire will suffer damage.
Meteor Fists When cast, Koralon does an addition 100% damage in fire damage in addition to his normal melee attack. This damage is split with another target in his front ark. The buff lasts for 15 seconds.
The fight requires two tanks to be present, although the off-tank can focus more on damage than threat. Determine which way Koralon will be moved during the fight and let everyone else in the raid know before engaging. Normally he is dragged counter-clockwise around the room. Both tanks move in and engage Koralon and get him into position just outside of the glass octagon on the floor. An ideal distance is 5-10 yards away from the octagon so that players can clearly see the fire pools that are dropped. Once engaged the tanks stay stacked on top of each other for the duration of the fight.
[protip]Raid mark the two tanks so that they can easily see each other and stay stacked at all times. This also makes it easy for DPS players to follow them around and make sure they do not get in front of them while Koralon is being moved. A druid off-tank is ideal as they can switch to cat form to DPS between meteor fists, then change back to bear to absorb damage when required.[/protip]
Healers and ranged DPS position themselves around the room, spreading out to minimize damage done when flaming cinder is targeted at a player. Players should try to find space on tile rather than the glass center of the room as many players find it hard to see flame pools against the flame background through the glass. Melee DPS moves around Koralons back and starts inflicting damage.
The tanks slowly back Koralon up going around the center of the room any time a flaming cinder leaves a flame pool near them or the melee DPS. Movement should be limited as much as possible as any time the tanks move, everyone else needs to adjust and DPS and healing could suffer because of it. A lot of this has to do with luck though, as sometimes all flames will be on ranged and healers and it seems that Koralon never needs to be repositioned. Other times it seems that the tanks constantly have to move him due to fire.
When Meteor Fists are cast it is critical that the tanks are stacked and stationary if at all possible so that they tank the damage cleanly and heals can react. If Koralon is being moved it is possible that only one tank is hit and damage is not split; this can quickly lead to a wipe.
The whole fight revolves around the tanks positioning Koralon away from fire so melee DPS can engage him, staying stacked in front for Meteor Fists, and everyone else avoiding standing in fire. The last item, as mentioned in the intro, is usually what wipes the raid.
Koralon is the only boss in VOA that does not have a hard enrage timer, instead he gains his burning fury buff every 20 seconds. This means that 7 minutes into the fight he is doing twice as much damage as at the beginning. Most players will not survive this amount of incoming damage from his AOE or the fire pools, so your objective is to kill him within 4 minutes or less.
Toravon the Ice Watcher
Toravon is the fourth boss found in the Vault of Archavon and is ice based, as his name would imply. He is a fairly simple fight, and drops some amazing gear for a quick fight. He drops the Tier 10 legs and gloves for each class as well as the season 8 PVP boots and belts for each class. Lastly he drops two frost tokens.
Freezing Ground Toravon targets a random player and immobilizes them and anyone one else nearby for a few seconds.
Frozen Mallet When Toravon hits players with his frozen mallet he has a chance to apply the frostbite debuff. This debuff does frost damage every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. However it does stack and the 10 second counter is restarted with each new stack. It does roughly 2,000 damage per stack.
Frozen Orb Toravon summons three frozen orbs (one in 10 player raids) every 30 seconds. First a rune appears on the ground to show where they will spawn and then they appear shortly after. The orbs then move around the room causing damage to anyone within 10 yards.
Whiteout This is a stacking debuff that Toravon casts every 45 seconds. Each stack of it on a player increases frost damage taken by 20%. The debuff lasts until the fight ends or the player dies. This is essentially the soft enrage timer in the fight.
This is a two tank fight, so that the tanks can trade agro back and forth as they get the Frostbite debuff. Initially you can take several stacks of the debuff and tanks do not need to trade often. However later in the fight as the whiteout debuff affects everyone you will need to trade agro as soon as Frostbite drops off each tank.
Healers and ranged DPS can spread out around the room however position is not a large concern. The only issues arise when players are clustered and get stuck by frozen ground just before frozen orbs appear.
Everyone works on the boss as the tanks are trading agro back and forth until frozen orbs appear. At that point everyone spreads out away from them and all ranged DPS switches to the orbs to destroy them as quickly as possible. It is best to prioritize any that are near the tanks and melee DPS first so that they can move as little as possible. Once the orbs have been destroyed ranged DPS can switch back to the boss. The faster ranged can get the orbs down, the less damage everyone takes, and the more DPS can be directed at the boss.
Healing gets harder as the fight goes on due to the increased frost damage, so players really need to avoid the orbs the longer the fight goes on. Overall though the fight is fairly simple, it is mainly a DPS race to beat the soft enrage from the frostbite debuff.
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