Whenever I see General Vezax I can’t help but think of Red Lobster. It’s like he picked himself up off the cutting board and ran into Ulduar to avenge all his fallen brothers of the sea. His hardmode, I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning is probably one of the more challenging achievements in the instance as a whole. However for melee this is probably one of the most boring ones to complete as well as our role is a straight dps race.
General Vezax Hard Mode – I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning
This hardmode is activated by ignoring (not killing) Saronite Vapours which are the only source of mana regeneration. Essentially the toughest job in this fight belongs to the healers who are forced to heal the entire fight with the mana pool they have. Once 8 Saronite Vapours have been ignored, they will merge and create a Saronite Animus. During this time, a Saronite Barrier will be cast on General Vezax which reduces 99% of damage done to him. While the Saronite Animus is activate it will cast Profoud Darkness causing significant damage to the raid as well. In other words, the Saronite Animus needs to be killed as soon as possible to remove the shield so you can kill General before your healers run out of mana.
Naturally all other abilities of General Vezax remain active throughout the fight and while the Animus is spawned as well. These abilities need to be managed accordingly:
- Shadow Crash – Shoots a shadow missile towards a random target (preferring ranged), inflicting 11,310 to 12,690 Shadow damage to the target and anyone in 10 yd radius. A dark puddle spawns under the area of impact, increasing magical damage by 100%, decreasing casting speed by 100%, healing done and mana cost by 75%.
- Mark of the Faceless – Applies a Mark of the Faceless to a random raid member (preferring ranged), causing them to drain 5,000 hit points every 1 second, for 10 seconds, from other nearby players. The health drained heals Vezax.
- Searing Flames -Inflicts 13,875 to 16,125 Fire damage to everybody in the room, and reduces their armor by 75%. Can be interrupted.
- Surge of Darkness – Increases Vezax’s damage by 100%, but decreases his movement speed by 55%, for 10 seconds. Cast every 60-70 seconds.
We tried this in two different ways, each have their pros and cons. Depending on your raid makeup one may be more beneficial to your group than the other but both are viable options.
- Strategy 1: Use one tank, 3 healers and 6 dps. This will help to burn General down significantly faster which should result in a very low help Gen when the Animus spawns. Kill the Animus quickly and then burn the last few % remaining on Gen. The downside of this is your single tank will need to tank both Gen and Animus during this phase which requires a lot more focused healing on the single tank vs spreading healing across two. As well, having both Gen and Animus tanked on top of each other makes it difficult for ranged to see where Shadow Crash is going to land. We started with this strategy but switched due to the added difficulty of managing Shadow Crash.
- Strategy 2: Use two tanks, 3 healers, 5 dps. Same as above except the secondary tank will pickup the Animus during that phase. The benefit is less healing focused on one tank and also the ability to position the Animus in a way that will make it easier for ranged to see the Shadow Crash landing. We moved to this strategy and felt this was the easier way. Naturally the downside is a Gen with a lot more health which means this puts a lot more pressure on your healers to manage their mana for an extended period of time.
In addition to the general strategy we used the following setup to help us
- Healing wise, we had a Resto Shammy, Disc Priest and a Resto Druid. Other setups are possible as well but a disc priest is extremely beneficial for this encounter and a resto druid Omen of Clarity healing is fantastic as well. (Yay free heals!)
- Having a melee heavy group (which we do) simplifies the fight significantly. Not having to dodge Shadow Crash turns this fight into a straight dps burn. The downside of this naturally is you cannot utilize the benefit of Shadow Crash puddles to increase dps.
- A minimum of three raid members must be at ranged to manage the Shadow Crashes (preferably ranged dps). All other melee/healers should be right on his Lobster tail to minimize any Shadow Crash failure and provide a little bit of melee damage as well, every little bit helps!
- Setup a movement path for Shadow Crash, if you get hit, there should be a designated path to exit (left, right, back etc)
- If someone dies to a Shadow Crash during the Animus Spawn, have a backup that is ready to move out into ranged to take their place. If this does not happen General will Shadow Crash someone within melee and essentially cause a wipe. It is absolutely imperative that someone have good reaction speed to make this adjustment if required.
- Berserk early so that it will be up again while the animus is spawned.
- Don’t interrupt if you don’t have to, interrupting screws with our dps mechanics way too much and shouldn’t be done unless there is no other option.
- This is strictly a dps race that has no change in mechanics for a kitty. While other people in your raid have to deal with additional mechanics you are free to continue like normal. This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyways, maximize your dps to the best of your abilities!