Alexander Gordia Savage - The Arm of the Father (Savage) - A3S
Co-authored by Shasta Kota & Milulu Valtyr of Death and Taxes (DnT) on Gilgamesh
Welcome to what most consider the hardest fight in the Alexander Gordia Savage tier. Horrific positioning and movement requirements that put you at the whim of the server, massive amounts of damage which will make any first time healer pee themselves a little, and an overall massive DPS check make this, in some people's opinions, the hardest fight in the game.
A3S is a very position and movement heavy fight. Most mechanics are based around your positioning relative to other players, and the boss himself. Everyone is going to need massive amounts of raid awareness at all times, and open communication is absolutely essential. Know where you're going ahead of time, know where you need to be, and everything will work out... probably.
Enrage happens at 12:45, on the third cycle of moves in the last phase. The entire fight is timing based, there are no HP percentage phase changes.
Assign positions around boss. First Protean Wave, dodge first hit. Then everyone moves to their positions ASAP, spreading out before the second hit
Have ranged bait Sluice outside and melee to the sides of the boss, move to behind boss afterward for heals and phase 2 preparation
AoE damage for DAYS
MT Living Dead/Hallowed Ground/Holmgang for the cleave or stack and spread all cleaves into party. Stack in middle for Wash Away after cleave.
Digititis, have tank and one assigned healer move to A, have debuffed dps and other healer move to B or C (call it out), avoid colliding with anyone else, make these movements ASAP
Healer with tank debuff moves out, rest of party stacks between B & C. Split cleave with party (two cleaves). Wash away after second cleave
Hand splits, OT vokes second hand and both are positioned on outer edge 180° from each other
Move hands to middle ASAP when one glows blue. Keep both in middle, position so cleaves don't hit anyone other than the tank tanking them. Leave room for melee to attack from behind.
Digititis, have assigned healers run to debuffed tank & dps. Pay attention to which hand gets an HP restored after Digititis completes, burn this hand down, dps check
After Hand of Pain, when hands glow blue, immediately pull both to outside edges of the arena 180° from each other
Phase 3 (Add phase)
Multiple waves spawn, starts with 2 Piston Lubricants. Tanks stun/silence during Mucilage cast, not before. Tanks both take orange tethers (Drainage), shield/cooldown these
Heavy and dps add spawns. Stun/silence all pistons during Mucilage casts.
Second wave: 3 Gear Lubricants
Third wave: 1 Piston Lubricant, 2 Gear Lubricants. During third wave, magnet tethers (Ferrofluid). move close along the inner tornado edge if same sign, move far apart if different. If opposite signs, offcenter yourself so you will not be brought into center tornado.
Fourth wave: 4 Gear Lubricants, two Drainage tethers.
Fifth wave: 3 Gear Lubricants, Ferrofluid
Sixth wave: 4 Piston Lubricants. Assign players with stuns/silence to one piston each, to stop Mucilage casts on all.
Shield party, Cascade starts the next phase.
Phase 4 (last three phases are collectively known as last phase, split here for readability)
Boss immediately casts Cascade, massive AoE damage, shield and mitigate. Ferrofluid immediately after on ENTIRE party, position so you will not be knocked into an AoE circle on the ground. Splash + cleaves afterward.
Protean Wave/Sluice, have party move to their assigned spots, bait sluice while also baiting out the first protean wave. After first Protean Wave immediately move to assigned spots to avoid stacking for 2nd hit.
A bit of DPS time, after that Sluice then Digititis, bait out sluice. Healers should take both DPS debuffs (communicate on who gets what), a dps without debuff should swap with the tank with debuff.
Cleave then Cascade again, shield/mitigate cascade, tank swap during Cascade cast.
Clear middle, healer will be marked and run to middle, hand will come out to take healer, stunning anyone around healer. Wait till hand begins moving, tank stuns it, someone
Heavy it, caster/ranged lb3 it (make sure LB also hits boss), rest of party burns it. Boss also Splashes during this.
Digititis, 6 splashes, then Cascade. Once again tank swap.
Position boss in middle if he's not, face boss to circle farthest from the other 2 circles (referred now as top circle). Top circle uses a single protean wave, dodge that, ranged move to outside. Bottom right circle uses Drainage tether, OT grabs and takes away from party. Protean wave from top circle again as Ferrofluid casts on entire party, OT waits for Drainage to finish before adjusting to Ferrofluid partner.
Two Throttle debuffs out, must be cleansed. Pull boss to edge between top and bottom left circles to dodge bubble coming from bottom left, bubble wipes if it touches anything including boss. Sluice goes out. After Sluice, move boss back to middle to dodge second bubble.
Cascade to end phase.
Boss repeats from phase 4. After third time repeating phase 4, boss enrages 12:45 during third cycle.
Fluid Swing: The cleave, deals about 6k damage, happens at set points. No cooldowns are required for the cleaves in first phase, although short defensive cooldowns may be used to help healers.
Protean Wave: 5 Ground AoE cones targeted at random party members, then 6 Conal AoE directly targeted at random party members. The first wave can be dodged, but will apply a pushback effect. The second wave cannot be dodged, and can be stacked to hit someone multiple times if positioned improperly.
Splash: Raidwide AoE dealing about 2.5k a hit, hits three times in very quick succession (will hit for six times at one point in the last phases).
Sluice: Markers on 4 random party members, who will take unavoidable circular AoE damage. Right before this AoE fires, 4 random party members, independent of the first 4, will have a ground circular AoE placed directly under them. First AoE cannot be dodged, second one can.
Place waymarks as in diagram. This waymark placement serves three purposes:
Digititis: These waymarks allow easier passing of debuffs.
Drainage Tethers: Tanks can use the waymarks to call out what direction they will be going to handle this mechanic
Phase 4, 5, 6 positioning: Tanks should call out a position that they will be facing the boss whenever the boss needs to be moved (such as "facing boss between A and B") so that other players don't get cleaved.
MT should pull the boss directly into the center, facing north at the start of the pull. Fluid Swing is the boss's cleave, so no one should stand near/behind the MT. No cooldowns are needed for Fluid Swing for it but it's important to keep the tank in relatively good health when they're about to come out.
First Protean Wave
Protean Wave fires two waves as opposed to the one from A3 Normal. The first wave draws 5 AoE on the ground targeted at random party members. These can be baited and stacked on each other, to give you room to adjust, as the second wave fires 5 again. The second wave is not ground AoE, instead it's conal AoE targeted at 6 random party members. If two conal waves hit one party member, the damage could very much kill them, so it's important for the party to have set positions to stand to make sure they can only take a max of one hit.
Everyone lines up to bait the first Protean Wave, giving the party space to move to their positions. These positions aren't absolute, figure out what works for your party best.
Dodge the first Protean Wave AoE. As soon as it fires...
...move to dodge it in a save zone. The AoE marker will disappear...
..and everyone moves to their assigned spots. This is simply how our party does it, you may also try placing each player in one of the eight slices on the ground.
With everyone spaced correctly, the Protean Wave can only hit one person each.
After the cleave, the boss will use Splash three times in quick succession, each one dealing about 2.5k damage. This should be AoE healed along with the earlier Protean Wave damage. Another cleave and Sluice will occur. Exactly like in normal, four players will be targeted for AoE damage. They should make sure to separate themselves from anyone around. Right as the first Sluice AoE occurs on those 4, 4 random party members (independent of the other 4 already chose) will have a ground AoE appear under them. This one can be dodged, but be careful about dodging into one of the first 4 chosen, as the ground AoE appears SLIGHTLY before the marker AoE happens.
Healers, casters, and ranged dps can bait their ground Sluice AoE to the outside, and afterwards, move in for AoE heals, as Splash will occur once again as the ground AoE begins to disappear. Another cleave, and the boss will transition into phase 2, becoming invulnerable while he does.
Phase 2 - Hands
1:10 Fluid Strike
1:17 Wash Away
1:18 Digititis (7s to swap debuffs)
1:30 Fluid Strike (split with party)
1:40 Fluid Strike (split with party)
1:48 Wash Away
1:57 Fluid Swing
1:58 Hands begin glowing (5s to move hands)
2:03 Hand of Prayer/Parting
2:10 Digititis (7s to swap debuffs)
2:17 Equal Concentration (DPS race for 25s)
2:20 Fluid Strike (not split with party)
2:29 Fluid Strike (not split with party)
2:37 Fluid Strike (not split with party)
2:43 Hand of Pain (end DPS race)
2:50 Hands begin glowing (5s to move hands)
2:55 Hand of Prayer/Parting
3:00 Fluid Swing
Fluid Strike: The cleave in this phase (3 total), deals around 40k damage, must be split by party.
Wash Away: Propels every party member in a random direction, about 45% of the arena's width, party stacks in center to avoid being knocked into the lightning on the edges.
Digititis: A mark is placed on a random tank, healer, and dps. When the mark expires, a debuff is placed on that player, inhibiting that player's role. These marks can be transferred and swapped around during the cast time, before the debuff activates.
Fluid Swing: Cleave from first phase, only used after hand splits. Applies a stacking blunt resistance down debuff on the targets hit, should be positioned so that the hands are not both hitting the same tank.
Hand of Prayer/Hand of Parting: After splitting into two, one random hand will begin to glow blue. If the glowing hand is an open palm (Hand of Prayer), the two hands must be pulled together, their models touching. If the glowing hand is a closed fist (Hand of Parting), the hands must be pulled away from each other, clear across the arena. This mechanic can be cheesed slightly, if the hands are already touching each other or pulled far apart, they will always use the opposite hand move. Pulling them apart ensures they will use Hand of Prayer, keeping them together ensures they use Hand of Parting.
Equal Concentration: One hand will give 4% hp to the other hand. 25 seconds after using this move, the hands will use Hand of Pain. These 25 seconds should be spent DPSing the hand with the most HP.
Hand of Pain: After casting the move, both hands will slam down with AoE to the entire party. The damage will increase if both hands are farther apart in HP percentages, and decrease if they are closer together. The move is a wipe if the hand's HP difference is greater than 4%.
This phase begins when the boss turns from human form to hand form (still called Living Liquid). While in hand form, he has an additional cleave attack called "Fluid Strike", not to be confused with the weaker cleave "Fluid Swing". The first Fluid Strike is usually tanked with Hallowed Ground, Holmgang, or Living Dead.
After the first Fluid Swing, the hand will use Wash Away which knocks all members in a random direction. Everyone (including the main tank) should stack up in the middle of the arena so you don't risk getting knocked out of the arena. Immediately after Wash Away comes the first Digititis.
Digititis places three marks on the party, one on a random tank, one on a random DPS, and one on a random healer. After the 7 second cast time, whoever has the marks will get hit by a debuff. The mark on the tank will result in increased physical damage, the mark on DPS drastically lowers damage dealt, and the mark on healers drastically lowers healing potency. The marks can be swapped before the cast bar completes, by having two members stand on each other's model. To deal with the mechanic, you want the roles to swap marks. In the first phase's Digititis, one healer will be in charge of swapping with the tank, and the other healer will be in charge of swapping with the DPS. The marks come into play here, simply have the marked tank stand at A and the dps stand at B or C, whichever is closer, and the healers move to those waymarks to swap with them. See the spoiler for a more detailed look.
A random DPS, tank, and healer will be marked with debuffs
Everyone should plan where they're going to move to
Everyone needs to be aware of the positioning and trajectories of the players with debuffs and avoid running into them. DEBUFFS GET TO GO FIRST.
One healer should take the DPS debuff, the other healer will take the tank debuff. Either the DPS or tank they swap with will get the healing debuff.
After passing debuffs, stack up to split the next Fluid Strike. The person with tank debuff will stand outside of the group or they will die.
These images show the basics of how to pass the debuffs and how to avoid passing by mistake but there is room to optimize efficiency and dps.
Normally, you will want the tanks and melee dps to use their gap closers right after Wash Away. If you have a WAR, they can use Holmgang before Wash Away begins casting, so that it wears off right after the knockback, DRK can use Plunge, and PLD can use Tempered Will. After they use their gap closers, they should quickly rotate to a position away from people who will be running debuffs and stay close to the boss so people can safely run behind them.
Healers and casters should use sprint in order to get to their positions quickly. In our strategy, we put the tank debuff at A and send a healer there to take it off of him, then we send the other healer and the DPS with debuff to either B or C (whichever is closest to the affected DPS), and the DPS player will call out which spot they are going to. We always have the SCH take the tank debuff so that he won't have to get the Damage Down debuff from the DPS. We like our SCH to contribute as much dps as possible while the WHM mostly solo heals.
There will be 4 other players who do not want to grab someone else's debuff unintentionally. In order to avoid this, they should run halfway to the center, then stop if there is someone with a debuff about to intersect their trajectory. ALWAYS let the players with debuff go first.
Having Trouble Passing Digititis?
One potential problem with passing the debuff might be due to latency and the way the server views player positions. If you are moving, the place you are at in your client is not the place the server sees you at (and subsequently not the same place that everyone else sees you at). If your WHM actually does get to the other player to pass his debuff, but the other player moves (even slightly) then the server will not register them at the same location even if it looks like they were. The easiest way to ensure safe passing of a debuff is to keep 1 player absolutely still until it is guaranteed to have passed successfully.
Remember, this is a teamwork mechanic that involves mutual trust and cooperation. We mentioned before that players without debuffs should STOP moving around halfway in order to let players with debuffs run to their positions first. This might result in you losing some DPS, but it is worth the loss if you end up doing Digititis correctly.
After two more Fluid Strikes, where the party will group up to split the damage (EXCEPT the healer who received the physical damage up debuff from Digititis!), Living Liquid will do another Wash Away and then split into two hands. The new hand should be picked up by your offtank, and the two tanks should drag the hands to opposite sides of the arena (we like to go directly east and west).
After a couple seconds, one of the hands (a random one) will begin to glow blue. At this point, BOTH tanks should run toward each other, and put both the hands directly on top of each other in the center of the arena. The glowing hand will either be a closed fist, or open palm. If it's an open palm, you drag the two hands on top one another, if a closed fist, they must be dragged far away. However, by keeping them on the opposite sides of the arena after Wash Away, the hands will always go open palm (the name of the move, Hand of Prayer for open palm and Hand of Parting for closed palm, simply tell you which mechanic it was, there's no difference in the damage). If they were positioned properly and at the right time, it will do some AoE damage, but not much. If you fail this mechanic, it will wipe the party with ridiculous damage, paralysis, and a dot on everyone.
After a few moments, one hand will begin to cast Digititis, and halfway through, another hand will cast Equal Concentration. The Digititis is handled the same way with a healer moving to pick up a tank debuff and the other healer moving to pick up the DPS one, though it is a lot easier since the party is not knocked away before hand. Simply watch out for running into each other, nobody but the healers should be moving.
This is the best positioning to pass the debuffs the easiest, but you don't have to follow it 100%
Three targets will be marked, 1 tank, 1 healer, 1 dps.
Have the two healers move to pass the debuffs so everyone else can continue to DPS.
You can see one of the healers is stacked with the tank now, they obviously need to get out of the way now.
Final position after passing debuffs.
Tank positioning: After the Hand of Parting from the last mechanic, the tanks can move the hands slightly further apart. It is helpful if they then face the two hands NW and NE so that there is a lot of room in the back for melee DPS to do flanking attacks without risk of being cleaved by Fluid Strike. The tanks should also try to be close enough together that they can attack each other's hand while staying out of cleave range.
Healer positioning: We put the SCH at A so they can take the tank debuff more easily. The hands do not cleave before Digititis so there is no worry there and it is a safe place to stand. After the Digititis goes out, they just have to run in a straight line to take the debuff from the tank and then get out of cleave range. It's recommended to pause shortly once on top of the tank just to make sure the debuff passes successfully.
DPS positioning: It's a good idea to get the DPS close enough in toward the middle so that the healer doesn't have to run too far to take the debuff off of them. If you are doing this phase with a solo healing WHM like we do, they will not want to run much because they'll need to be healing up both of the tanks.
After the second Digititis, the hands will perform Equal Concentration. In this mechanic, one of the hands gives 4% of its hp to the other hand. This creates a total 8% HP difference between them. You then have 25 seconds to get them within 4% of each others' HP. This means you need to attack the hand with the higher HP after the swap, and avoid doing any damage to the lower HP hand.
After the DPS check of Equal Concentration, one of the hands will start glowing blue again. All you have to do is run the two hands to opposite sides of the arena again (we use directly east and west), as keeping them in the middle forces Hand of Parting. Right before the phase changes, the hands with both cleave one last time, so make sure the tanks are high enough on HP to survive it.
Having Trouble with the DPS Check?
Have some (or all) of your dps players save their potions for the Equal Concentration instead of using them at the beginning of the fight in their opener. If they're not using potions at all, this is obviously one very easy way to help with that dps check.
Have your DPS save some of their cooldowns for the Equal Concentration (notably, Blood for Blood is one you would have to hold for about a minute to have it available for this mechanic).
Also, try to minimize the damage you do the lower hand. Out of habit, some of your DPS might be double dotting both hands which would obviously make it difficult to get the higher hand's HP low enough to meet the requirement. Along the same lines, make sure you're not using too many AoE abilities hitting the lower hand. Just as an example, a SMN using Deathflare on both hands, which could crit on the lower hand but not crit on the higher hand and would probably be just enough to cause that party to not meet the DPS check and wipe.
Also make sure your DPS are not refreshing DoTs on the hands before Equal Concentration because you don't want them to continue ticking on the lower hand after its HP has dropped and the race begins.
Both of your tanks should be able to attack either hand without turning the one they are tanking. This will allow both tanks to add their DPS to help with the DPS check while not doubling the cleave damage they're tanking.
Phase 3 - Add Phase
3:14 Wave 1 (Spawn Piston Lubricant x 2)
3:23 Drainage (7s til damage)
3:25 Wave 2 (Spawn Gear Lubricant x 3)
3:37 Wave 3 (Spawn Piston Lubricant x 1, Gear Lubricant x 2)
3:43 Ferrofluid (5s to position)
3:53 Wave 4 (Spawn Gear Lubricant x 4)
3:53 Drainage (7s til damage)
4:06 Wave 5 (Spawn Gear Lubricant x 3)
4:08 Ferrofluid (5s to position)
4:17 Wave 6 (Spawn Piston Lubricant x 4)
Severe Contamination: Light AoE that hits the party periodically through the phase.
Drainage: Two orange tethers are placed on two random party members, these tethers can be picked up by standing between the target and the boss. After 7 seconds, the tethered target explodes for massive AoE damage, this needs to be picked up by both tanks and taken with heavy cooldowns/shields.
Ferrofluid: Marks 2 sets of 2 people with either a positive or negative icon, and places a tether between them. After 7 seconds, the two party members will be stunned, then pushed together or apart depending on the marks. If the marks are the same, the pair will be pushed apart, and should stack together in the middle to avoid hitting the electric floor. If the marks are different, the two will be pushed together, and suffer damage and a stat down debuff if they collide, so they should spread out away from each other far enough that they don't collide (or get pulled into the center AoE).
Mucilage: This move is cast by the Piston Lubricants 6 seconds after they spawn, giving them the effect of Sprint and making them immune to heavy. Can be stun/silenced, and should be done so for every Piston Lubricant that spawns.
Oil Blast: Light AoE, occasionally used when an add dies, deals light damage to the raid.
The hands will reform in the middle, and become a swirling tornado of death, which just so happens to be completely invincible to damage. A puddle of water will appear under the tornado as well, and standing inside of it inflicts a horrible dot, you want to avoid it as much as possible. There will be a lot of periodic damage throughout the phase, and it adds up, you'll want to pseudo separate the party into halves, so that the healers can be on opposite sides to hit everyone with heals, the tanks can be on opposites to be ready to pick up tethers, and the dps so that they don't focus on one side of Lubricants ignoring the other.
There isn't too much about the adds. The Gear Lubricants simply move to the outside, having your healers/casters/MCH apply heavy whenever they can afford to will help out a lot in progression, though it's by no means mandatory with sufficient DPS.
The Piston Lubricants will cast Mucilage (Sprint) shortly after spawning however, and if they get it off, they'll book it right off the edge. Any add that reaches the outside edge equals a massive raidwide explosion and dot... in short, you die. To stop the Mucilage, the Pistons must be stunned or silenced during the cast. This isn't too much of a problem until the last wave, in which 4 spawn, and the party will need to spread around stun/silence duty. Fortunately, both tanks have a stun, your ranged has a silence (stun too if MCH), and your melee each have one as well, so unless you're running a 4 caster comp, you should be okay.
Having Trouble with Slimes?
Your SMN/SCH should be able to position himself to Miasma II (AoE Heavy). Your WHM/AST can also do one of the single target Heavy. BLM and MCH also have Heavies. But heavy isn't even necessary at all as long as your dps is good enough. If your DPS are struggling, then the Heavy is just an aid to help overcome it. The bigger problem might be one of your DPS not able to be effective in their targetting or choosing the highest priority target to attack.
Melee DPS should not be using DoTs on the adds (except maybe DRG's Chaos Thrust). You won't get the full duration of the DoT before the add dies, so it's just a waste of GCD.
Final Pistons: When the last wave of 4 Piston Lubricants spawns, if you are having trouble stunning/silencing all of them here is a tip. If you have 2 melee and 2 tanks, assign those players to call out their adds and if you have a brd/mch then don't have them call out anything (it will just add to confusion), and instead have the brd/mch just act as a backup paying attention to make sure everyone gets to their adds in time.
Final Pistons: Next to every monster's name is a letter, if everyone is in voice chat they can call out a letter for the add they plan to Stun/Silence. Otherwise, you can also have 4 players equip a mark to their hotbar to mark their targets as 1, 2, 3, or 4. If two people mark the same mob, just leave the marking as whatever it ends up on and move the other player to a new mob. The marking strategy is more reliable, and more PUG friendly (assuming everyone can spare a hotbar slot and doesn't fat-finger their macros).
Miscellaneous Tip: SMN can cast AoE abilities (like Deathflare) on the tornado in the center. It won't deal damage to the tornado, but if you use it right when a new wave of adds spawn, it will hit all of them.
As for the tethers, there are two kinds. The first you see are solid orange (Drainage), extending from the central tornado to party members. There will always be two of these type of tether at a time. A tank needs to pick up each one, as they'll explode on the tethered target for around 24k damage, which MUST be taken by a tank and mitigated with cooldowns. The explosion also has a rather large AoE centered on the player with the tether, so other players will need to move away from it.
Having Trouble with Drainage Tethers?
The two tanks should be separated when Drainage is about to come out so that they can better determine which one of them will grab which tether. If you place your waymarks in a triangular pattern around the center of the arena like we showed earlier, then they can use waymarks to call out to each other which one they are taking.
After taking a tether, tanks should stand to the inside of the arena close to the water pool to minimize the risk of someone else taking it off them, all other players should move away from the tanks.
The second set of tethers is the slightly more difficult one. You can "cheese" the mechanic a little bit by having your PLD Hallowed Ground or DRK Living Dead and run through the water puddle to grab his tether (not directly through the center because then he might grab the wrong tether). Make sure he moves back out of the puddle before the HG/LD wears off.
The second kind are the tethers from Ferrofluid. Two people will be tethered together, and magnetic icons will appear above their heads. Just like magnets, if the icons are the same (two positive or two negative), the players will be repelled from each other after a short time, quite possibly into the outer electric field if positioned improperly. If the icons are different (Positive and Negative), the two will be propelled towards each other, and if they collide, they will take massive damage, and a debuff lowering ALL stats by 30%. The obvious way to deal with them is to get together in the middle, or spread out to opposite ends of the arena, depending on the type. However, you do not want to collide in the central pool, due to the high damage. The best way to do it is spread the tether as a tangent to the inner circle.
By positioning yourself and your partner as a tangent to the inner circle, you will be close/far enough away from each other that you won't be knocked into the outer electricity, or pulled into the inner water
As the last 4 Pistons are dying, the boss will transition into the final series of phases, often just referred to as last phase. The boss won't wait until the Pistons are dead to transition, make sure you kill them quickly!
Having Trouble with Ferrofluid Tethers?
Your melee DPS might be stubbornly not moving in order to do more DPS. You can either yell at them or (more recommended) have the other person move to them if you have same signs. If you have opposite signs, both players will have to move and just deal with the dps loss.
Once you have identified who you are linked to and the signs of yourself and the other player, it is highly recommended to use voice chat to call out "<name of other player> together" or "<name of other player> apart". There will always be one person in each pair that sees the markings before the other. The faster that both players can get on the same wavelength for what they need to do, the more successful you will be on executing this mechanic reliably. This tip is extremely helpful in doing Ferrofluid in the end of the fight.
Most people refer to the entire rest of the fight from this point on as the "last phase". In order to simplify the discussion of this fight, we have divided it up into phases 4, 5, and 6 for easy reference.
Cascade: Massive AoE damage on the entire party. Needs to be hardcore mitigated every time, Sacred Soil/Collective Unconscious, Succor/Aspected Helios, Virus/Disable/Rend Mind on boss, Dragon Kick/Delirium, etcetera.
Fluid Swing: The boss's cleave, applies a blunt resistance down debuff on whoever is hit by it. Forces the tank swap, which should be done at every Cascade.
Ferrofluid: This Ferrofluid differs from the one in phase 3 in that it marks all 8 players in the party (if they are alive). If there is an odd number of players alive, then one person will not be marked. Players are tethered together in pairs with random positive and negative signs. Just like phase 3, same signs will repel and opposite signs will attract.
Digititis: Differs from the one in phase 2 in that two DPS will be marked, instead of one. Both healers will grab the two dps marks, and one of the DPS that has no mark will grab the tank one.
One of the most notable differences in this phase (and the following phases) is that there are 3 large AoEs on the ground in the arena in a triangular pattern called Liquid Rage. These are pretty much the same as the AoE that was in the middle of the arena in phase 3. The triangular pattern they form does not have sides of equal length; it is an isosceles triangle (two sides are kinda long and one is short). Additionally, each time the boss uses Cascade, these three circles will change position to a random new position but will always form the shape of an isosceles triangle. To deal with this, some movement is required. The waymarks will give you an easy way to call out positions, tanks should be always ready to face the boss and let the party know where it's faced, depending on the mechanic.
This phase starts with a Cascade, the boss's massively hitting move. This move REQUIRES that it be mitigated, with shields on everyone and debuffs on the boss. This move happens several times throughout the last phases, and healers should form plans on how best to use their cooldowns to mitigate it every time. Right afterward the Liquid Rage AoEs get placed on the ground. Try to keep the boss positioned in the center for now. Shortly after the Cascade, the boss will use Ferrofluid.
This Ferrofluid differs from the one in phase 3 in that it marks all 8 players in the party (if they are alive). Not only do you have to avoid being pushed into the outside of the arena now, but you also have to be careful not to be pushed into the three Liquid Rage circles on the ground too. Reference the following image for acceptable positioning for these Ferrofluids.
You always want to try to line up your push/pull to go through the long sides of the "triangle" because it's the easiest, most reliable way.
As you can see, there is one Ferrofluid in the diagram where one player is standing in the "short edge" of the triangle. This works, but is generally not a good idea because it is still a little risky. The safest and easiest way to execute this mechanic is to have everyone line up their pushes/pulls to go through the two long sides of the triangle.
Just like in phase 3, it is highly recommended that you identify your Ferrofluid partner as soon as possible, and figure out whether you have same or opposite signs. As soon as you figure this out, use voice chat to call out ", together" or ", away". There will almost always be one person in the pair who will recognize what to do before the other, so this will make execution of the mechanic faster and more reliable. Also, it is inevitable that someone will be unable to determine who they are tethered too, so having the other person call it out to them will help to reduce unnecessary wipes.
Sluice + Protean Wave
Next is one of the mechanics that arguably causes the most wipes to statics, and the most difficult to coordinate and execute consistently. This is the Sluice + Protean Wave, and it will be broken down here step by step to make it as clear as possible.
5:23, the blue overhead indicators for Sluice go out. These blue icons mark 4 players that will be hit by the unavoidable AoE called Sluice.
5:29, 4 random players will also have a ground-targetted AoE placed underneath them. These 4 AoEs can go under the same 4 players marked with the blue overhead icon, but it is really just random and can go on any of the other players too.
5:29, 6 random players will be targeted by a Protean Wave ground AoE.
5:29.5, the damage from the unavoidable Sluice hits.
5:31, the ground-targetted sluice explodes.
5:32, the ground-targetted Protean Wave explodes.
5:34, second hit of Protean Wave goes out. This second hit is unavoidable and targets 6 random players.
Because all of these Sluice and Protean Waves target random players each time, you have to come up with a strategy that assumes all 8 players will be hit. You also still need to leave as much space around each player for dodging. The way we handle this can be seen in the following images.
You want to position your healers somewhere behind the boss and in the middle of the party to get off AoE heals and shields. The whole party should have HP topped off before moving into position for the Sluice + Protean Wave.
After the Fluid Swing (cleave), the healers can run out to the edge of the arena to prepare to bait the Sluice and Protean Waves. No healing should be necessary if all players were topped off ahead of time.
The ground-targeted Sluices will go out first. Don't move just yet, you still need to bait the Protean Wave.
Ok, now you can move to dodge the AoEs.
Now as soon as the Protean Wave AoE indicators go out, move out of it and the Sluices to a safe spot.
As soon as the Sluice and Protean Waves go off, space yourself around the boss. You don't all have to be in melee range because you still shouldn't require healing. You just need to be far enough apart for the 2nd (unavoidable) hit of Protean Wave.
Now the second Protean Wave hit has gone off, the hardest part of the fight is now over.
As you can see in the diagrams, we do not position the boss in the center of the arena for the Sluice + Protean Wave mechanic. We feel that putting the boss between two of the Liquid Rages (on long side of the triangle) gives more room for positioning. Also, right before this mechanic is the Ferrofluid, so if your tank is going to get knocked back, he can position himself to end up right in this spot which makes less overall movement to get the boss in this position in the first place.
To handle the Sluices, you need all 8 players to be far enough apart from each other that the unavoidable Sluice hit will not overlap on any two players. You'll want to wait about half a second before dodging the ground-targeted Sluice because the unavoidable Sluice goes out a fraction of a second afterward. Pausing for half a second also makes sure that the Protean Wave gets baited over the Sluice AoEs to save space.
To handle the first Protean Wave hit, you will need to bait them to an area that uses as little space as possible. The way we minimized this effect is by putting one healer directly lined up with the main tank, one of the ranged DPS behind one of melee DPS, and then the 2nd ranged DPS behind the 2nd melee DPS. This way, the Protean Waves will overlap so that it will look like only 3 AoEs in the best-case scenario or 5 AoEs in the worst-case scenario. However, if you baited the Sluice and Protean Waves properly, then those have overlapped too, which saves you move space.
Having Trouble with Sluice + Protean Wave?
I highly recommend setting a strategy in place to handle this mechanic, and then practicing it on the first Protean Wave. Obviously one of the easiest ways to handle the first Protean Wave is to just stack everyone up behind the boss to bait all the waves into one spot, however this cannot be done in the last phase due to the Sluices. Instead, use that first Protean Wave to practice your positioning so when you get there, you are just doing the same thing you've done a hundred times before. It will help, I promise.
You can also move your OT and H1 slightly so they line up with each other too. This will buy you a little bit more space for dodging. This will change the worst-case scenario to place only 4 AoEs on the ground (due to overlapping Protean Waves).
Digititis + Sluice
Spread out for Sluice. Since you aren't baiting a Protean Wave this time, you don't have to line up behind each other at all. You only have to have all 8 people spread apart from each other to avoid Sluice hits. The Digititis will go out first, but wait for the Sluice to go off before moving. You have a full 7 seconds to pass debuffs, and there is no Wash Away here like there was in phase 2 so you should have plenty of time for swapping.
The main difference between this Digititis and the earlier ones is that there is one more player marked, 2 DPS instead of just 1.
As mentioned before, when swapping debuffs you only want one person moving out of each pair that swaps in order to make the passing more reliable and not dependent on server lag. To accomplish this, do the following:
Both healers will take both DPS debuffs. The marked DPS should stop moving until their debuff is off. If this means they lose positional bonuses, then suck it up and get over it (it's better than a 90% damage down debuff).
An unmarked DPS will need to grab the tank debuff.
Having Trouble with Sluice + Digititis?
To make sure the healers don't run to the same DPS, they will need to call out where they're going.
To make sure the tank debuff gets taken quickly, one of the tanks should be assigned to call out "off tank" or "main tank" so the DPS don't have to look at the party list or anything. It makes the passing quicker and easier.
If your tank is feeling especially helpful, he can call out the name of one of the unmarked DPS who should come to get the debuff from them too.
There will be 2 unmarked DPS every time. It's obviously faster for a melee DPS to grab the tank debuff than it is for a ranged DPS, but if you are progressing on the fight for the first time, you can just plan to have both of the free DPS try to grab the tank debuff just to ensure that there is no failure.
The phase ends when the boss starts casting Cascade again. Remember that the Liquid Rage puddles are going to swap to a random position so get ready to move the boss again. During this cascade cast, your OT must provoke and tank the boss, because the MT has vulnerability stacks from the cleaves.
No joke, if you have made it this far, your group is definitely capable of clearing this fight. You might run into some frustration over the mechanics in the next two phases, but you should really think twice if you're considering replacing any of your members or quitting your static. Also, if you've been reading everything in this guide up to here, good job.....you must be really desperate or very patient. Keep going, there's good shit in here.
Liquid Gaol: One random healer is marked with a green mark. After a few seconds, the marked healer and everyone around them are stunned as a Living Limb spawns, trapping the healer and carrying them to the edge. If it reaches the edge, the healer will be placed in the paralysis, and the Living Limb will become an add that freely attacks the party.
After the Cascade and tank swap, the puddles will reset, and the boss can be pulled a bit more to the edge, to give the melee and ranged dps more room for the next mechanic. A mark will appear on one of the two healers, who should run to the middle of the room as the rest of the party stays away from them. The boss will stun anyone around that healer, and trap the healer in a Living Limb, which will carry the healer to the edge of the arena.
The Living Limb moves towards the closest edge once it spawns on the healer, and if it goes over one of the puddles on the ground, it will begin to restore HP. Your healer wants to position themselves slightly off center, so that the hand will move between two puddles, and not go over it, or bad things will happen.
The Living Limb is susceptible to stuns and heavy, and keeping heavy on it is a priority. For the first couple seconds after it spawns, it will stay in place before moving. Someone should put Heavy on it as soon as possible. When the Limb starts to move, the player with the longest stun (usually the OT) needs to stun it. As this stun occurs, your caster or ranged should LB3 it, which should also hit the boss as well, while the rest of your DPS go ham on it. DPS should wait to use their stuns until the long one wears off and then hit it with a second stun to buy more time. With the LB damage, as well as all the DPS focusing it, and keeping heavy on, it will die before it reaches the edge.
If it does reach the edge, it will turn and start attacking the party. Since it also deposits a healer into the paralysis, this will usually end up in a wipe, as the outgoing damage from that and Splash will be too much to deal with. The boss will throw his usual temper tantrum and Splash at the start and end of the Limb's lifecycle, as well as cleave, so the remaining healer should focus on making sure the MT does not die, as well as healing up people from the splash damage.
After quite possibly the easiest Digititis of the fight, and another cleave, the boss will do Splash again, however he will do it 6 times in a row, so the healing needed will be a bit higher. Another cleave, and Cascade finishes off the phase, requiring another tank swap.
Liquid Rage: In Phase 6, the Liquid Rages spawned from Cascade are improved, each circle performing its own independent mechanic. With the circles forming an isosceles triangle, the "top" circle will perform a singular protean pushback wave, the bottom right circle will perform Drainage, and the bottom left performs a new mechanic for this phase, Embolus.
Protean Wave: Performed by the top lone circle. Fires a single protean pushback wave at a random party member. The wave is conal and widens away from the circle, so it is harder to dodge the farther away you are.
Contamination: As if the phase wasn't hard enough already, the top circle will periodically fire Contamination at random party members, dealing around 4.5k damage.
Drainage: Same as phase 3, but only one tether, the OT should pick this up and stand near the bottom right circle where it originates, using cooldowns to tank it. DO NOT trap yourself between the two close circles (Drainage and Embolus ones) or you may find yourself unable to dodge the Protean Wave.
Throttle: An 8 second debuff placed on two random party members. When it counts down to 0, the party member with it will die. It can and should be cleansed.
Embolus: A bubble spawns from the bottom left circle, in a straight line towards the position of the boss when it spawned. Should it come into contact with any player, or the boss itself, it will explode for 12k damage to the party. The boss should be pulled to the edge after the first one spawns, and pulled back to the middle after the second one spawns.
The last phase of the fight is here (after this it just repeats from phase 4) and this phase is a COMPLETE cluster fuck, even more so than Titan back in the day. Fortunately, it almost entirely relies on your tanks, so there's less room for the other members of the party to screw things up here.
After a cleave, the top circle will fire a Protean Wave at a random party member while the bottom right circle sticks a Drainage tether onto someone. The party should dodge both in a way that the offtank can grab the tether from the party. When the Protean Wave AoE disappears, the OT should move with the tether near the circle it spawned from, using their cooldowns to take the hit. The offtank should make sure to not get stuck in between the two close circles or he might be unable to dodge the Protean Wave.
Throttle will be applied on the party during this as well. Two people will be randomly targeted and a debuff will be placed on them, counting down from 8 seconds. Should it hit 0, they will die. It can be cleansed with Esuna/Leeches/Exalted Detriment. Since they spawn 3 seconds apart, one healer can cleanse both.
Raidwide Ferrofluid happens next, and it is handled the same as in phase 4. However this time, the party has had more time to orient themselves to the new position of the top circle, and should find it easy to all spread out on the side. The OT's second Drainage fires now, and their Ferrofluid partner should be away from them, but in a position to be pushed or pulled by Ferrofluid, so the OT simply has to move close or far after the Drainage explodes. All four mechanics (Protean Wave, Drainage, Throttle, Ferrofluid) happen in very quick succession, so keep focused on raid awareness. The MT will want to position the boss so that it is in the middle, yet facing out to the area between the top (Protean) and bottom left (Embolus) circles.
This is how your positioning should look before the first Embolus spawns (maybe facing the boss a slightly different way, but this is mainly it).
When the first Embolus spawns, it will travel along the highlighted trajectory
The MT should pull the boss to the edge of the arena, and everyone else needs to get out of the way of the Embolus.
The 2nd Embolus spawns and will travel along the highlighted trajectory. Don't move the boss just yet.
Now that Sluice is out, you can safely move the boss back to the center to avoid the 2nd Embolus and not worry about dropping Sluices all over the place.
Here is the final positioning of the boss after Embolus. It doesn't really matter where you face the boss here, as long as it's not going to cleave anyone.
After a cleave, the first Embolus spawns (sometimes ominously called "THE BUBBLE" but no one really knows why, must be an inside joke). It will move in a straight line, starting from the bottom left circle, and follow in a path towards where the boss was when it came out. If it touches ANYTHING, it'll explode and wipe. Nobody should touch it, the boss shouldn't touch it, you should treat it with the respect that it deserves. As this first Embolus spawns, Throttle will happen again, so a healer should be ready to dispel those. The tanks should at this time pull the boss to the edge, between the Protean and Embolus circles. After the boss reaches the edge, the party should be split up somewhat, the melee on the boss, and the ranged out of the middle on the other side to dodge the 1st Embolus circle that had come out.
Another Protean Wave will come out, and as it does, Sluice will happen. The party should dodge the Protean Wave, and immediately stay spread out for the Sluice, being careful not to dodge and run into the 1st Embolus taking it's slow ass time getting to the edge. Another Protean Wave fires as the Sluice circles come out, and this will trigger a 2nd Embolus spawn. The tank will want to bring the boss back to the middle right as Sluice/Protean Wave is firing, making sure to reposition and face it away from the party before another cleave. When the cleave happens, the boss will Cascade, ending the phase.
Repeat phases 4-6 until the fight is over. Enrage is around 12:45-12:48 during the 3rd instance of phase 4. Note that, for the tanks, due to the odd number of Cascades, the OT/MT positions will be flipped the second time through phases 4-6. Both tanks will thus need to know each other's jobs and when to use cooldowns for tanking the boss no matter what.
There are 2 chests if no one has cleared for the week. They contain one item each, and a Gobtwine. Every player will also get a Gordian Manifesto - Page 3 (limit 1 per player per week). The Manifesto can be used to purchase additional gear or Gobtwine (all purchases require 4-6 Manifestos).
Head gear & Gobtwine = 4 Gordian Manifestos
Leg gear = 6 Gordian Manifestos
If you've made it this far, congratulations are in order, as you've killed the hardest fight (as most consider it) as of patch 3.0! A4S is the only thing left to tackle, and it is SO much more forgiving on movement and positioning, though a little stricter on the heals and DPS. However, it is perfectly acceptable to feel accomplished now! A3S has claimed many raid groups and statics in its lifetime so good job on sticking it through! Here's a Manifesto, go buy yourself something pretty.
Warrior CD Usage (By Eios)
I haven't pulled a run doing this perfectly but this is what I aim for.
My cooldown mapping is slightly affected by my opener. For my opener I pre-pop vengeance first, then raw intuition. I try to pre-pop as soon as the countdown timer occurs or a little before, you have 30 secs to pop raw intiution after vengeance to keep your stacks. Pre-popping early means you can have your cds come up sooner. Pop too late and they might not be up at the best time, ex. the first vengeance. For this opener you need a bard to warden's paean you. If you don't use this opener and instead use the triple fell cleave opener and push vengeance/raw intuition during berserk, vengeance will only be up in time for tethers since it will come off cooldown too late to use it for anything else but tethers. Raw intuition should be up for the moment I use it. Compared to the triple fell cleave opener you do lose a third fell cleave, but you do gain two extra gcds in the same amount of time. A gcds worth of damage is loss in the berserk window since you trade a fell cleave for two gcds but that damage is made up by the time you get to the next fell cleave and then some, so your dps actually increases by 100 - 200 potency. (Tested this by using the parse potency amounts option in act) Most importantly, you are able to push all your big cds on cooldown faster and gain an extra vengeance.
Phase 2 - Hands
I holmgang the 2nd washaway (I use it right after he uses his 2nd fluid strike, this enables me to lose holmgang right after the knockback).
I use vengeance as soon as I homgang or a couple secs later so I can mitigate the first cleave.( The cleave won't kill you but its free mitigation. if you're to uncomfortable with this timing just ignore this. But it will be up if used properly, albeit a very tight timing)
I use raw intuition + convalescence right after the digititis cast ends so I can mitigate 3 cleaves straight. During this time u can stay in deliverance and go into defiance to mitigate the last cleave after you drag your hand to the edge. If you have trouble staying up you can defiance + unchained earlier.
Phase 3 - Add Phase
Tether 1: Inner beast
Tether 2: Vengeance
*Its possible to switch these around for whatever reason, if you don't use the extra vengeance use before. But if you do switch these around, be wary of the extra distance you may have to travel after using inner beast. It may fall off, resulting in your death.
There are three phases that make up the "last phase". I main tank the 5th phase of the first loop, then the 4th phase and the 6th phase of the 2nd loop up to enrage. No need to swap at that point.
Phase 5 (Loop 1)
These timings are very specific here, so if you miss the window for the extra vengeance forget it. The first cleave wont kill you, its just to help on healing and is free mitigation if you can get it right. If you don't time it right u will die to the 2nd tether since vengeance might still be on cd, unless you have some other form of mitigation up.
I vengeance a few secs after I position the boss, after the cascade . The best cue I can give you to get a feel for the timing is to vengeance as soon as, or a little before the boss turns to target someone for the hand (gaol). The 2nd cleave wont have any big cds. I pop raw intuition + convalescence right after the digititis finishes casting( Should mitigate the last two cleaves). All other smaller cooldowns or going into defiance are up to your discretion.
Phase 6 (Loop 1)
Tether 1: Inner beast
Tether 2: Vengeance
*Its possible to switch these around for whatever reason, if you don't use the extra vengeance use before(Phase 5, 1st cleave). But if you do switch them around, be wary of the extra distance u may have to travel after using inner beast. It may fall off resulting in your death.
Phase 4 (Loop 2)
I holmgang + convalescence as soon as I get hit by the third splash so I can survive the first cleave. The 2nd cleave is taken without any big cds. I use raw intuition at the end of the 2nd set of three splashes (Should mitigate the last two cleaves).
Phase 6 (Loop 2)
Take the first cleave with no big cds
Raw Intuition after ferrofluid for 2nd cleave
Vengeance after ball appears for 3rd cleave
Holmgang after positioning the boss due to the 2nd ball for the last cleave
Phase 4 (Loop 3)
Enrage Occurs go ham!
All other CDs such as thrill of battle and equilibrium, I use frequently enough that I don't have hard timings for them or just use them as needed.
WHM Tips (by Stelaris Starweaver)
First a disclaimer: There are many different healing strategies that you can use for this fight. By all means what is below may not be the best or what works for you. I am assuming that when tanks are tanking, you are trying to keep regen uptime as high as possible. Also, the below strategy is with this in mind: The SCH (Dusty Slippers in my case) casts the absolute bare minimum spells throughout the entirety of the fight. Please look at the below with this in mind. Also, I did not include any Tetra uses. I never really used that at any one particular point but rather whenever I "felt" like I wanted / needed to use it. I tried to be as brief and thorough as possible to my heals that I use at any given phase.
During Phase 1, the first Protean wave that happens I use Medica 2 + Assize. Afterwards, I find using an MP potion (I prefer Mega ethers) gives a really solid timing for me, on MP gains. I will use MP potion on CD from this point on. During this point, because I have regen and medica 2 rolling on the tank and medica 2 rolling on the raid, I can DPS more on the boss. Note: DPS as much as you feel comfortable with in regards to your MP pool. Don't overdo it.
The Sluice cast will happen soon after. I like using Asylum here, right behind the boss. Everybody stacks up inside the Asylum after the Sluice explosion goes off and I cast medica 2 + medica for the AoE slams that occur. Everyone will be at about half HP and the Asylum will tick everybody up. Shroud now and use shroud on CD. Our tank uses Living Dead for the first cleave so no healing, only benediction is needed. During the cleave time, you can feel free to DPS but as mentioned above, be aware of your MP pool.
Phase 2 - The Hands
Wash away happens and two more cleaves will happen. I pop Divine Seal and begin using cure on the main tank. After each cleave, I will use a cure 3. Note: On the third cleave, you could use medica 2 instead of cure 3. I prefer cure 3 because it tops off everybody, including the tanks. Hands will split and, in my opinion, the hardest part of the fight starts from a healing standpoint. When the Equilization cast ends, put down an Asylum on the two tanks. I like this because it just helps with the healing of the tanks. Sometimes I might place it later on in the phase. When regen falls off and Divine Seal is back up, I like to pop both DS and PoM so that I can quickly cure / regen both tanks. When they are about to do their raid wide AoE, I like to swift cast Medica 2 (you could time it as well, I'm admittedly lazy here). If your tanks are not topped off, you could medica alternatively. I prefer Medica 2 because it tops the raid off for the add phase.
Phase3 - The Add Phase
I don't DPS here at all. This is a timed phase and if your DPS is able to make all the checks, I just keep medica 2 rolling and keep the tanks topped off. For the Cascade that happens at the end, I put down an Asylum right before it to help top people off and I will either medica or medica 2, depending on the HP of the raid. Divine Seal cure 3 the cascade.
Phase 4 - Living Liquid Humanoid Form back
After the cure 3 is done on the raid, I spread out and do the mechanic properly. When the tethers are complete, I go to the center and time Assize with the first AoE splash. I then cast 1 medica and 1 medica 2. Again, I want to reemphasize that my SCH does no AOE healing so what I am suggesting for heals may be over healing for another raid group. Please keep this in mind. For the Protean Wave, for the second splash I like to cast one medica and an additional medica before the AoE splash if they're not topped off. My SCH (before the Sluice occurs), deployment tactics so that is all that is usually needed. I use Shroud now, for the AoE splash. Sluice explosion damage will occur and I'll run behind the boss and do one medica to top people off for cascade. Divine Seal Cure 3 Cascade.
Below is assuming you're not in the hand, if you are congratulations. Free time to go afk / regen MP. Obviously, keep tank up from cleaves. First splash hits, I use medica 2 and let that top people off. When the second set of AoE goes off in this phase (usually after the hand is dead, in my group), I use Assize and lay down an Asylum. Raid reaches full for the 6 splashes from that. Tetra the tank whenever you feel it's needed. For the 6 splashes, I like to do the following: Presence of Mind -> Medica 2 -> Medica -> Medica. Afterwards, make sure everyone is 100% topped off and Divine Seal Cure 3. Alternatively, you could Divine seal the 6 splashes.
This is a really easy phase for us. Just keep the MT up, avoid the balls, stoneskin the OT taking the tether if his CD's do not allow to skip it. If you're assignment is dispelling, make sure you do that. AoE heal before the cascade and prepare for it. Divine Seal cure 3 Cascade.
Rest of the fight repeats. Hope this helps some WHMs out there.