Posted Wed, Aug 17, 2011 by gunky
Location: Redhorn Lodes, 10.2S, 103.9W.
Type: Level 56 Instance, Fellowship
Mobs: Orcs, Goblins, Wargs, Trolls
Description: In elder days, this place once served as a grand portal to many levels and halls within Moria, but since the ruin of Moria, it has become a den of many Orc-tribes. Mazog, he who rules the Orcs of Moria, exacts his tribute here through his minion Igash....
The Grand Stair is the late-game equivalent to the Great Barrow
Maze. Chances are, you will end up running it at some point if you
haven't already. At one time, it was the player's first taste of
endgame content, separating the wheat from the chaff. Currently,
it serves a similar purpose - a late-game yardstick which can show
a player his strengths and weaknesses and teach him how to
function in a group. It's also the first real late-game content
that can teach a player the difference between a good, capable
group and a lousy, incompetent one. And it's the instance many
players "farm" for Medallions of Moria to barter for outstanding
level 60 armor, so there are almost always GS runs happening.
There are a couple of ways to do this one: daily challenge mode or full-clear mode. It is not possible to do both modes in one run, so pick a mode before you go in and plan your trip accordingly.
Both modes start the same way. Head down the first set of stairs and watch the little drama between instance boss Igash the Fanatic and his minion, Izkal the Pummeler. Igash informs Izkal of an impending rebellion fueled by the arrival of a band of interfering Free People, and instructs him that he has ten minutes to get things under control.
Izkal the Pummeler
Izkal is not that tough. Once the gate drops, everyone can rush in and start laying down a fast, savage beating. Ranged attackers will want to move all the way across the bridge just in case they accidentally pull aggro off the tanks - if Izkal runs onto the bridge, he resets. Fight him on his platform and this won't happen. During the fight, he will call out "You will learn the meaning of terror!" and inflict the group with a fear debuff. The fear debuff doesn't do all that much, but everyone will want to pot it off as soon as it happens. Later on during the fight, he will call out "Feed me your fear!" and anyone still affected by the debuff will heal Izkal. Having a Captain in the group helps immensely for this - a Muster Courage immediately after the group debuff strips away the fear and prevents Izkal from healing. If the group has no Captain, everyone needs fear potions.
Once Izkal is engaged, the group has ten minutes to get to Nardur the Shield, who is several challenging fights away. A high-DPS group will have no problem reaching Nardur in ten minutes, but the group wants to move fast once Izkal is down. Hang a quick right and down the stairs and take out the pair of warg-riders there. Zip along the walkway, but keep the tank in the lead - there are two stealthed goblins waiting at the far end of the walkway, and they will pop out when the tank gets within aggro range. Take them out quick, down the next set of stairs and engage the next two warg-riders on the right. Ignore the uruks standing to the left at the drawbridge and press on down.
Follow the path down and right until you see the four warg-riders. Two of them are stationary and two of them are patrolling in a circle. Additionally, there is a stealthed goblin near the bottom of the stairs. Keep an eye on the patrolling wargs and pull one of them when it is right at the foot of the stairs - this will draw only two of them plus the goblin. Tough, over-level groups can probably handle all the wargs and goblins at once, but on-level groups will want to fight smarter.Once these wargs are defeated, stick to the right. There is a bridge with stealthed goblins - send the tank to yank them out of stealth. Everyone will want to fight on the bridge here - the goblins have rather zealous anti-exploit measures and will glitch out if they aggro on a player not standing on the bridge. After the bridge is another group of four patrolling warg-riders. These can also be pulled in pairs.
Nardur the Shield
At around this time, the group will find out whether or not they have what it takes to get to Nardur in time. A billboard message pops up at the halfway point. If the group is slow, there are a couple of options:
1) Step up the DPS. Take more risks and kill things faster.
Hunters can use a more aggressive stance, Guardians can try
tanking in Overpower, Champions can stick to Fervour. Ramp it up
and push yourselves.
2) Disband and start again, but do things faster and better. You
may need to replace the weak links, or retrait for higher DPS.
3) Use the mechanics of the instance. You have ten minutes to reach Nardur, whether you defeat him or not. Pick the group's toughest, dodgiest, or generally-most-able-to-not-die character and send him up to Nardur's station at the top of the stairs to the left. The runner cannot have any active heal-over-time effects running, or the mobs will focus their attentions on the healer rather than the runner. If the runner survives, he can head back to the group, pulling all of the orcs up there with him, or he can leap over the side and plummet to his death, which still activates Nardur but doesn't jeopardize the rest of the group with an overpowering pull. Some players may believe this to be a cheap exploit, but the devs have declared that it is not.
If you don't make it to Nardur in time, Igash calls out to the
other orcs that they have been betrayed, and Nardur - the leader
of the rebellion - heads for the hills while the remaining orcs
fight it out. In other words, he despawns and you lose his loot
If the group is doing fine, just keep plugging away... but waste no time getting to Nardur. After the warg-riders, there is a goblin hiding on the stairs, and four trios of orcs at Nardur's station at the top. Most groups want to clear the platform in order to fight Nardur there, because he has some serious knock-back attacks that can send poorly-positioned players flying to their doom. The safest spot to fight him is with everyone's backs to the gate across the platform from the stairs. Alternately, the tanks and melee guys can engage him at the foot of the stairs, keeping the whole rest of the platform behind them so they have flying room.
Technically speaking, a full-clear run can simply skip Nardur and never have to worry about him. But Nardur's death spawns two chests - each with a medallion in it - and you can complete this part of the challenge in a full-clear run, so there's really no reason not to do it. After Nardur's defeat, the group can relax for a bit - the race is over and the group can tackle the rest of the instance at its own leisurely pace. But where you go next depends on whether you are doing a full clear or challenge mode.
For challenge mode, backtrack to Izkal's station and follow the path north to Igash's throne room. For a full clear, you have lots of options: backtrack to Izkal's station and take out the bosses in the western sections, slog your way through a couple of groups of uruks up the stairs to the east, or head back down to the warg pens.
Glothrok the Vile
The warg pens have two sections: the place where they keep the
wargs and the place where they keep the boss. With small,
controlled pulls, the warg room is easy. The boss, Glothrok the
Vile, is a harrowing and frustrating ordeal. Make sure the group
has at least one Hunter for this fight.
It starts out simply enough - a spank-and-tank boss fight. Glothrok will spam poison attacks on everyone in the group, and some of these poisons have a timed stun effect. The group's Hunter will need to spam Purge Poison for the entire fight - there is almost no time for the poison-controlling Hunter to actually shoot anything. After beating on the mounted goblin for a bit, he hops down off his warg and they heal up and fight as a pair. Focus DPS on the warg first and take him down quickly, and keep the tank on the goblin. In this stage of the fight, he will summon four waves of wargs into the fight, and the wargs will usually head straight for the healers. Fortunately, the warg adds are fairly squishy and can be dispatched quickly with Champion area-effect attacks... but they do manage to dish out some hurt when they activate, so these waves are priority targets when they come in.
Gothghaash the Firecaller
The next big fight is against the ghash-hai orcs in the west. There are three groups of them on the western platform, one of them patrolling up and down the ramp. Pull these groups carefully - if you get two groups at once, they can be overwhelming and it will be difficult to burn through the enemy heals. Take out the healers first and deal with the melee guys after.
Head up the ramp, take out the small groups up there and prepare for a barbecue. Gothghaash waits at the top on his industrial-sized grill. This fight is not all that hard but requires some good situational awareness and split DPS. Make sure everyone gets into the room and off the ramp so the fight doesn't reset if a ranged attacker accidentally draws aggro. Watch out for puddles of fire on the floor and move away from them, and keep an eye out for the fumaroles he will occasionally spawn in. The fumaroles heal him up, so destroy them quickly when they pop up.
The Beast and the Beast Tamer
After killing Gothghaash, head back down and find the stairs leading down to the trolls. You can't miss 'em - they're on the left and there are trolls on them. Fighting trolls in the Grand Stair is a risky proposition because of the big, swinging knockback attacks - always make sure you have your back to a wall when fighting them, or, when that's not possible, a lot of room in a straight line behind you (see crude illustration below). There are two pairs of trolls on the stairs - one melee, one ranged - and three groups of trolls and keepers down at the bottom. Take out the keepers first, melee trolls second and leave the boulder-chuckers for last.
When the big, dark room is cleared, you come to the lair of the slumbering Beast and his keeper, Dorozg the Beast Tamer. The Beast is pacified by the sound of beating drums, but the little goblin drummers flee in terror when the group approaches. If you don't want to fight both the keeper and the Beast at the same time, someone is going to need to step up and unleash their inner Peter Criss. Any character is capable of playing the drums provided they have the proper training from a Minstrel, but the group's Minstrel is probably the last person you want playing the drums during the fight against Dorozg. The group still needs healing.
It is possible to fight both bosses at once and survive, but not
advisable. The Beast hits like a truck and has a damaging aura,
and has some nasty area-effect attacks for anyone unlucky enough
to be caught in the middle of them while fighting his keeper. It
is better to let sleeping Beasts lie, so figure out who in the
group can play drums and stick them there until Dorozg is down.
Dorozg is protected by a shimmering bubble that functions in the
same way as a Minstrel's Lyric of the Hammerhand - any damage done
to him while the bubble is up is applied to his Power rather than
his Morale. He's not terribly dangerous by himself, but the fight
runs long because of the shield. When Dorozg falls, the Beast
awakens regardless of whether or not anyone is playing the drums.
The Beast is a savage brute. He bats characters around like he's swatting flies, has a truckload of morale, and will occasionally stop and smash the ground, doing massive damage to anyone standing near him. When he shouts "The ground will shake" it's time to get some distance from him. He does around 1100 damage per smash and he smashes the ground around 4 times so get across the room and wait for his temper tantrum to end before getting back into melee range.
Hunter Class Quest
On the way to Igash, Hunters will find a dead body on the last platform before the stairs leading up to the throne room. Make sure everyone knows you are doing your class quest before clicking on this body, and that everyone is prepared to handle it.
Clicking the body spawns in a tough orc with big knockback attacks. Watch your footing here - time for a Crude Illustration!
You want to stand in a straight line between your target and a long walkway. Facing doesn't matter - the fellow at the bottom left of the red target could have his back turned to the walkway behind him, but he's going to go flying in a straight line from the target when it does a knockback. Likewise, the guy standing in front of the heap of junk along the outside of the platform might be in a perilous spot of the junk is not stacked really high. If it's a wall behind him, he'll be OK, but he doesn't want to stand there if it's just a heap of broken crates and poles and such.
Anyhow, aside from the knockbacks and the big morale pool,
there's nothing else really noteworthy about this fight. Kill the
guy and press on.
Igash the Fanatic
Igash's throne room lies north of Izkal's station. You will need to fight your way through a few groups of orcs - take out the healers first, always. If the group has good CC, keep one of the healers mezzed and burn the other. At the top of the stairs, guarding the entrance to the throne room, is a group of five mobs. Three of them are healers, two are melee types. High-level, high-DPS groups can simply power through and fight everything at once, but on-level groups may need to plan a bit more carefully.
Crowd control is a strong asset here. Mezzers can keep one (or more) of the healers locked down, or Hunters can use Rain of Thorns to root the whole group. The rest of the group waits just down the stairs, out of line of sight of the enemies, and the tank pulls one mob at a time. If things get hairy and the mobs break out of the roots, take down the healers first. Not only do they keep the other mobs standing, but they prefer to attack from range, which means they are likely to target your own healers if they are not handled efficiently.
At last, you reach Igash. He stands in the middle of his throne
room surrounded by riches, tribute collected by the orcs for
Mazog. He slowly walks forward when he is activated, but his
Devoted will run in from behind to protect his master. For the
daily challenge, the goal is to kill Igash but not the Devoted.
How this fight starts is very important, because a mistake here can easily cause problems that will only multiply later and cause a wipe. The Devoted rushes in and scampers around whacking on (usually) random targets, and the two archers he brings with him stand fast at the entrance and shoot. The archers can be CC'ed, or they can be wrangled by a tank provided the tank can avoid lingering around the Devoted too long, which makes the archers attack randomly. Regardless of the group's methods, healers must not begin healing until the archers and Igash are all active, or they will risk taking a lot of damage that will be hard to fix as the fight wears on.
The archers need to be led into the room, rather than being
allowed to linger by the stairs, just in case Igash decides to
attack the person tanking the archers. If he runs too far out of
the room, he resets.
One tank can handle both of the archers and Igash at the same
time. Guardians can do this fairly easily with AoE forced-attacks
and taunts, and Wardens are capable of this also by spamming
Conviction. The single-tank method requires a decently-geared tank
with lots of morale and/or damage mitigation, but it should be
easier for the healers because they will only be focusing on one
healing target rather than needing to spread it around.
Alternately, Igash and the archers can be tanked separately.
Igash is fairly easy to kite around the room without the kiter
taking too much damage, and he can be bounced around between
multiple Hunters by stance-switching and kiting. The archers don't
to much damage in melee, so an off-tank can sit on them the whole
time. If the archers are killed, fresh ones come running in from
the stairs, so the archer-tank will need to be able to pick those
up quickly to prevent them from murdering the healers.
There are a couple of things to watch out for in this fight. The first is the fire puddles Igash lays on the floor periodically. It's never a good idea to stand in fire, so don't do it here. Secondly, he applies wounds to his primary target which drastically lowers the character's armor rating. He announces this attack by shouting "Looks like I found a break in your armour" - pot that wound off immediately or you will be taking significantly more damage from his attacks.
At around the halfway point, he will do a full-group attack which does massive damage and stuns everyone in the group. There's no real way to avoid this attack. Healers just have to make sure everyone is in decent health and can soak the damage, and lay down some group heals after the stun wears off.
You get 5 chests from challenge mode, and some of the loot is
outstanding and will remain viable for a long time.