Heroic Dark Animus

I know this guide comes a little late in the season but due to some summer attendance issues, our raid progression has not been on par with what it was earlier in the patch.  Nevertheless, there are still some guilds out there attempting this boss so here goes.

Dark Animus is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, heroic boss in Throne of Thunder.   I finally got tired of sitting on this guide which I had written months ago so that I would fully understand the fight’s mechanics before going in to it.  Since then, there are several things that I’ve added to it.  There are several different successful strategies to killing DA all of which have their own benefits, downfalls and requirements for successful execution.  Almost all of these strategies require near perfect or flawless execution in the case of some roles and one wrong thing will basically make the fight a wipe.  Just get used to the sub 2-minute wipes now because a majority of them will be like that.  If you were to stop reading the guide here I would want you to know the following:

  • Part of the reason my guild had so much trouble getting this boss down despite being extremely overgeared was because we kept changing our strategy.  We would get frustrated doing something a certain way after just getting used to it and change the strategy.  If I was to go back, I wish we would’ve just stuck with one thing that was hard but doable with more practice instead of determining some how in the first few pulls that a certain strategy was not going to work.
  • Mages have some weird threat drop after mirror images, don’t use those before the pull.
  • Highly recommend even if you have the ilvl, do not try the zerg strat, go with one of the standard ways to kill him first.
  • Avoid if possible, pets tanking small anima golems. It’s not problem for 2-3 DPS to zerg one small anima golem down in < 5 seconds.
  • Every raid member should know the mechanics of this fight like the back of his/her hand.

For the duration of your progression on this boss.  At one time or another you may think one of the following (in a rough order):

  1. “This is not doable.”
  2. Weird Aggro Issues
  3. Tank’s dead at 0:05
  4. Anima Font -> Dead
  5. Tanks: Where do I go?
  6. Tanks: I’ll just grab this random add.
  7. Large Anima Golem Active
  8. Just ran through anima ring YOLO.
  9. No one’s there to soak anima ring.
  10. Siphon 1 – Interrupting Jolt…?
  11. Siphon 2 – Interrupting Jolt…
  12. Lets now decide to assign cooldowns for Interrupting Jolt.
  13. Double Time Swap -> Dead
  14. 4:00 Enrage
  15. Stop the Interrupting Jolt, Please
  16. After this point, you’re probably relatively on your way to killing the boss.

Those pieces of advice will save you a good chunk of your wipes.  This boss is easy to get frustrated on.  In my case it was more that people were not stepping up and saying I can do this even tho I’ve messed up X number of times but rather wanting to change the strategy because things got hard.  It’s understandable that people get frustrated, just don’t let it overly affect your performance and attitude.  That’s the point where things go downhill.  The most annoying thing is things can go to shit really fast at the beginning and after you consistently get past the 2 minute mark on this fight, you’re in good shape. Dealing with the interrupting jolts is a matter of organization and time swaps can be fixed but everything else in the fight at the beginning must be done perfectly even to get to that stage.

So enough with the long introduction, lets get in to the fight.

Recommended Talents and Glyphs

Tier 1: Speed of Light: Movement for time swaps, anything on demandTier 2: Irrelevant
Tier 3: Sacred Shield…OK who are we kidding…
Tier 4: Unbreakable Spirit: I have stated many times how Divine Protection is one of the most underrated spells, use it on this fight and you will see the power
Tier 5: Holy Avenger: Use before interrupting jolt to start stacking those shields and topping people up
Tier 6: Holy Prism (maybe Light’s Hammer for 25, but most of the fight is still spread healing)

Beacon of Light, Divinity, Something

General Spells

The fight starts off with four different types of mobs in the room:

  • Small Anima Golems (SAG)
  • Large Anima Golems (LAG)
  • Massive Anima Golems (MAG)
  • Dark Animus (DA)

Each of these mobs has an Anima bar kind of like a runic power bar.  This bar shows how many Anima that construct currently has and each mob has a maximum value that it can hold (unsurprisingly) related to its size.  Only enabled (I will explain what I mean by enabled shortly) golems who gain at least 1 Anima can become active.  On Heroic, in addition to all 25 SAGs having 4 Anima, Dark Animus will also begin the fight with 52 Anima at the beginning.  This is what changes the strategy for this fight.  This means that Dark Animus will begin the fight already having 2 of his abilities which he gains at 10 and 25 Anima, Touch of the Animus and Anima Ring.

In 10M 13 Small Anima Golems and 3 Large Anima Golems are disabled at the beginning.  This means that even by gaining 1 Anima, where an enabled Large Anima Golem would become active and start running around, a disabled Large Anima Golem would still be frozen in place but holding Anima.  In other words Disabled Anima Golems will never move around no matter how many Anima they have.  In 10 man, a key part of the strategy is to fill these Disabled Large Anima Golem with Anima since they will never move.

So one more time for clarity’s sake:

  • There are 4 different mobs able to hold varying amounts of Anima
  • Each mob has an enabled/disabled state indicating whether gaining Anima will actually make it get up and run around
  • Each enabled mob gaining at least 1 Anima will go from an inactive to an active state

The table below will hopefully sum the beginning up and be more helpful than confusing.

Construct (Anima Capacity) Enabled (10M) Disabled (10M) Active at Beginning (10M)
Small Anima Golem (4A) 12 13 12 (4A Each)
Large Anima Golem (8A) 5 3 0 (0A Each)
Massive Anima Golem (36A) 2 0 0(0A Each)
Dark Animus (100A) 1 0 1 (52A)

Once an Anima Golem is killed, any Anima that it’s holding flies to the nearest Golem no matter what that golem is as long as it has enough capacity to hold it.  It also must be able to hold all if it (example: Golem A has 3 empty Anima.  Golem B has 4. Golem C dies with 4 Anima, even if Golem A is closer, the Anima will fly to Golem B.)  During the fight, Dark Animus’ Siphon Anima ability sucks Anima from all other Golem constructs if they have any (SAGs, LAGs, MAGs).  When a Golem gets all its Anima siphoned off it will become disabled. Lastly, Dark Animus enrages at 100 Anima still.  Kill him before he kills you.

Anima Spells

Other than Dark Animus, all of these abilities are castable by mobs as long as they’re active (an enabled one gains at least 1 Anima).  Dark Animus gains more abilities as he gains more Anima.  Each mob other than Dark Animus and the Massive Anima Golem (which as 2) has 1 special ability.  This doesn’t change from Normal to Heroic but as usual, does more damage.

Small Anima Golem

Acceleration Link: Linking two Small Anima Golems will cause them both to gain this buff which increases their attack speed by 250%, their damage done by 175% -> 250%, their run speed by 30% (stacking) and their size by 5%.  Linking 3 or more of these golems doesn’t increase further any of these abilities except for their speed.

Note: Small Anima Golems take a lot less damage from AOE abilities through their Evasive buff (90%).

Large Anima Golem

Crimson Wake: Repeated explosions from the ground follow a player around in a line.  This follows a player for 30 seconds and deals 200,000 -> ______ Fire damage.

Massive Anima Golem

  • Matter Swap: Debuff placed on player which lasts 12 seconds.  After 12 seconds, or when the spell is dispelled/bubbled, otherwise gotten rid of, Arcane damage equal to the player with the debuff’s is done to the player and the person farthest away from them split depending on when Matter Swap disappeared.

For example if player A who gets Matter Swap has 500,000 HP and player B who is the furthest away from player A has 450,000 HP, then if the spell is dispelled at 6/12 seconds, 50% of 500,000 will be done to both players.  The damage was split twice because the spell was dispelled halfway through its 12 second duration.  On the other hand without immunities, if Matter Swap is allowed to run its full course, player B will insta-die because they will take 100% of 500,000 damage.  Likewise if Matter Swap is dispelled too early, player A will be dealt a massive amount of Arcane Damage.  You want to dispell this around 6 seconds if it’s a normal swap or just let it run it’s course if it’s someone who decides to use a large damage reduction ability for a Time Swap close to an Interrupting Jolt.

  • Explosive Slam: Slams the ground in front of the Massive Anima Golem hitting any players within 9 yards for 140,000 -> 174,500 Fire damage and inflicts them with Explosive Slam which causes them to take 50% more damage from future explosive slams.  This debuff can stack.

Note about explosive slams.  It is indeed possible for a DK to cheese this debuff if he’s only tanking one.  He need only apply his AMS before the 3rdnd slam or so with a damage reduction cooldown.  As long as he doesn’t take over 400,000 damage or do (depending on your DK’s health) the slam debuff will fall off and he will be able to tank the boss for another few stacks before AMS is up again.  Unless the golems become empowered which I think he will have to switch sooner, a DK can tank 1 MAG pretty much indefinitely.  Paladins can also bubble the stacks off, but can not bop other players to take the stack off. Empowered MAG is a different story but may still be possible.

Dark Animus

  • Siphon Anima (active on 0 Anima): Siphons 1 Anima from any golems in room who have Anima, enabled or disabled.  This occurs every 20s and the first one occurs 2 minutes into the fight.
  • Touch of the Animus (active on 0 Anima): Debuff kind of like the one from Protectors in Terrace which deals 40,000 Fire damage every 4 -> 2 seconds for the rest of the fight.
  • Anima Ring (active on 10 Anima): Spawns several spheres around Dark Animus’ target that slowly move towards the center.  Players who touch one of these spheres will receive a debuff which makes them take 200% more damage from melee attacks for 15 seconds.  This stacks with the amount of spheres touched.  In Heroic, the player who soaks the sphere takes 180,000 Fire damage over the 15 second duration after soaking a sphere.  This also stacks.
  • Anima Font (active on 25 Anima): Affects individuals who already have Touch of the Animus, causing them to throw Anima bolts at nearby locations ever 1 second for 375,000 Fire damage
  • Interrupting Jolt (active on 7 Anima): Deals 135,000 Nature damage to all players and an additional 350,000 -> 475,000 Nature damage to players who are casting and interrupts them for 8.5 seconds.
  • Full Power: Dark Animus’s Enrage where he throws random bolts that do 500,000 Fire damage to enemies within 5 yards of impact.  It does sound like you might be able to avoid dying to this immediately.
  • Empower Golem: Dark Animus targets 1 active golem with least health healing it by 3% and increasing its damage by 24% for the rest of the encounter.  Fun Fact: It also gets slightly bigger!

There isn’t a lot of complexity in terms of all sorts of different kings of mobs doing all sorts of different kinds of things but rather in when and where the mobs are killed.  There are mainly 3 classes of strategies out there.  The first of which is the 2 tank strategy AKA Blizzard intended strategy which perhaps is more complicated to execute but has been successfully used to kill the boss.  Also, depending on your tank and healer make up, it may be easier to do it this way.  The second of these is the 3 tank strategy where the execution is a bit simpler and you have less damage on tanks but less healers to deal with interrupting jolts.  The third is the zerg strategy which probably should not be attempted unless your guild ilvl is at minimum 535 and even then not recommended for a first kill.  There are several variations of the fights with either 2 or 3 tanks.  I’ve uploaded an Imgur folder of all of the strategies in the same map format as below so you can look through which of them would better suit your purposes.  For the sake of length though I will only go through one of the strategies for each 2 and 3 tanks and one for the zerg strat.  My hope is that you will understand how the unmentioned strategies work from looking at these.  As mentioned, the first Siphon Anima begins at 2:00, after 2:00 the standard strategies follow the same concept, it is only how the small anima golems are put into the large golems that’s different.

Finally before I start talking about strategies, your map on 10 man will likely look much different from mine.  You will need to plan your anima golems accordingly.  A good idea would be to first determine which small ones are being deposited in the large ones and then determine which ones will be going into the massives.  You can always switch around killing actives for inactives depending on position.  This is why understanding the fight is important, you will need to make customized changes to your raid strengths.

Strategy 1: 2 Tanks, 2-3 Healers, 5-6 DPS (First Interrupting Jolt on Siphon 4/5, Fight Length 5/7 minutes)

To avoid multiple wipes of pets not doing what you want them to do, I would avoid trying to have one of your warlock or hunter pets tank an add.  It’s certainly possible but if that pet does not grab the add and it starts to run off, just know that the fight is probably a wipe.  The following is one variety of the 2 tank strat with 3 healers and 5 DPS.  The first is a map of how your raid should be set up.  This varies map to map.  The second and third table tracks the Anima of all your golems at different points in the fight. The first is the way without killing any additional golems.  The second is the way killing additional golems for more time.  In truth, I would recommend doing something in between, if you need a minute more for example, kill 2, etc.
2tank3healer5dps

Beginning (Pull)

Small Anima Golem: 25 available, 12 enabled and active/13 disabled, 4A each
Large Anima Golem: 8 available, 5 enabled and inactive/3 disabled, 0A each
Massive Anima Golem: 2 available, 2 enabled and inactive, 0A each
Dark Animus: 52A, active

Room setup, healer 5 is a DPS hybrid healer like a monk or Discipline priest who will be responsible for healing/dispelling/killing the adds on that half of the room.  This healer will not be near the tank.  Healers 6 and 7 will each have one SAG on them for the duration of filling up the first MAG.  One of the healer will have a SAG on them for the whole time until all of the Anima from that SAG is siphoned away (by siphon 4).  Tank 2 should be a higher mobility tank.  The DPS killing the SAGs into the LAGs afterwards need to help Tank 2 whittle down some of the SAGs.  This includes one of the active SAGs on the healers and helping Tank 2 as he runs around killing the inactives.  DPS around the ring soaker need to help the ring soaker kill his SAG first before turning to theirs so he/she can get to Tank 1 quickly enough.

  • Tank 2 gets three active small golems and brings them to left massive golem.  Bring activated massive golem around to 6 additional active/inactive small golems (preferably on the same side of the room) leaving the SAGs on healers. At this point, the left active massive golem is has full anima.  Tank 1 grabs Dark Animus and one active SAG.  Once Tank 2 fills up his first MAG, Tank 1 will taunt it.  He/she will now be tanking DA, one MAG and one enabled SAG. Following this, the tank should go over and first bring 1 active small animal golem (preferably on a healer) to the right inactive massive anima golem.  This will activate the golem.  They will now be tanking 2 active massive anima golems.  They should bring this around to a total of 8 active/inactive small animal golems.  The active/inactive ones will be variable depending on your layout.
  • In the mean time, the DPS and healer/dps hybrid should kill two active/inactive small anima golems such that three disabled large anima golem will gain both their anima. This gives 3 disabled large anima golems with 8/8 full anima.  This will once again depend on where they’re situated.
  • At 52A, Dark Animus will already have Anima Ring and Anima Font abilities.  Tank 2 needs help getting out of the ring abilities from melee DPS.

All this should be done before the first siphon and can be done but most likely won’t be done on your first few pulls.

Siphon 12 (+2:00)

Small Anima Golem: 1 available, 3A
Large Anima Golem: 8 available, 5 enabled and inactive/3 disabled and inactive, 0A in enabled/7A in disabled
Massive Anima Golem: 2 available, 2 active/0 inactive, 35A each
Dark Animus: 58A

  • Tank 2 taunt the large anima golem on Tank 1 until his Explosive Slam debuffs are gone.  Tank 1 on boss.  This will be swapped ever 5-6 stacks with normal MAGs and earlier for empowered MAGs (after siphons 4).
  • All other DPS should be on Dark Animus.
  • If your DPS is tight, you can kill the SAG early and all three MAGs to prolong your fight by nearly 2 minutes.  This is provided you can continue to live through the Interrupting Jolts.  After Siphon 2, you can opt to kill 1 SAG for 30 more seconds.

Siphon 3 (+2:40)

  • You can opt to kill one of the LAGs into the MAG you did not fill the SAG with for another 30 seconds.

Siphon 4 (+3:00)

  • You can opt to kill one of the LAGs into the MAG you filled the SAG with for another 30 seconds.

Siphon 5 (+3:20)

  • You can opt to kill one of the LAGs into the MAG you did not fill the SAG with for another 30 seconds.

As mentioned, the disadvantage to this strategy is it’s slightly more complicated and requires one of your Tanks to run around with his head cut-off for the first 2 minutes.  Once they get used to it and if they’re willing to do it, it’s quite simple.  They need to be aware of where they are and where they’re going the whole time.  This is also a better strategy if you have absolutely no third tank or just need more healing. You can also do this strat with 2 healers.

For healers, you should feel free to use all of their big cooldowns at the beginning of the fight.  The first interrupting jolt should come after 3 minutes at least if things are done correctly where the 3 minute cooldowns should come off again.  The tank tanking the 3 SAGs at the beginning will need heals poured on him (one assigned healer) in the beginning for the first 10-15 seconds or so before he kills one and then his damage intake will drop significantly and you can worry more about healing the raid.  I was healing out with tank healer with a shaman assigned to specifically healing the tank and I used both Holy Avenger to EF everyone on my side followed with GotAK when the tank’s large cooldowns came off ~6 or so seconds into it. The damage on the rest of the raid is extremely manageable.  For Holy Paladins, you should aim to get an EF up on the tank and heal up people with IH as much as you can before pull. It will save you a lot of time later.   Once again, you can see the other 2 tank strats on the imgur album.

Strategy 2: 3 Tanks, 2-3 Healers, 4-5 DPS (First Interrupting Jolt on Siphon 4/5, Fight Length 5:40/7:00)

The benefits to this strategy are that the tank swaps are much similar.  If you have a DK and Paladin tank + some other Tank you essentially don’t need to do any tank swaps.  On the down side, your DPS needs to be slightly higher since both of your anima tanks won’t have much vengeance on them.  In general if you are overgeared for the fight, have 3 competent and semi-well geared tanks (at least normal ToT gear) I would recommend doing it with 3 tanks.  You can potentially take 3 healers for this strategy as well depending on your raid makeup.  The following is an example of 3 Tanks, 2 Healers, 5 DPS.

3tank2healer5dps

Beginning (Pull)

Small Anima Golem: 25 available, 12 enabled and active/13 disabled, 4A each
Large Anima Golem: 8 available, 5 enabled and inactive/3 disabled, 0A each
Massive Anima Golem: 2 available, 2 enabled and inactive, 0A each
Dark Animus: 52A, active

  • Tank 2 gets three active small golems and brings them to left massive golem.  Tank 3 gets two active small golems and brings them to let massive golem.  Kill all of these around the massive golem so anima from all 5 enter the left massive anima golem.
  • DPS kill a total of 6 SAGs into 3 LAGs.
  • Tank 1 will pull one active small anima golem and Dark Animus to the center of the room.
  • After Tank 2 gets the three active small golems into the left massive golem, he will activate the other massive golem a few seconds after a matter swap with a disabled SAG.  He will then run around and get 8 more disabled SAGs in to the other MAG.
  • Healers will not have any anima golems on them.

Siphon 1 (+2:00)

From here on, there will be no tank swaps and all DPS will be on DA.

Siphon 2 (+2:20)

You can optionally kill one enabled SAG which is on the tank to MAG 1.

Siphon 4 (+3:00)

You can optionally kill one disabled LAG into MAG2.

Siphon 5 (+3:20)

You can optionally kill one disabled LAG into MAG2.

Siphon 6 (3:40)

You can optionally kill one disabled LAG into MAG1.

Once again, you can pick and choose which optional golems you kill to extent time.  Personally think killing two LAGs should give you enough time.

Strategy 2: 1 Tank, 2 Healers, 7 DPS (Zerg Strat, First Interrupting Jolt on Siphon 1, Fight Length Max 2:20 + Enrage Survival Time)

Let me just say one more thing before explaining this and that’s that you should go into doing this strat if your guild’s average iLvl is either under 535 or if the members in your guild can’t pull an average of 185,000 DPS minimum each.  Your tank will likely be doing 2x everyone else so there is some leeway on this but if you don’t have the DPS you shouldn’t do it this way.

This being said, if you wipe a few times under DPS it doesn’t mean you don’t have DPS.  This is a fairly challenging fight to master, especially because a majority of your raid will still not know the mechanics of the fight 20 or 30 wipes into it.  Everyone needs to be familiar with position their anima, running out of anima font, etc. while still pulling above average DPS.  Do it until you’re all familiar with things, especially your tank as they will be putting out a massive amount of DPS at the beginning.  They need to strike the right balance between staying alive and keeping their vengence up to do enough DPS.

Since I mentioned that we wiped a good 20-30 times doing the second strategy on this, after switching back to the zerg strat, people had finally figured out how to grab their adds, where to stand to be comfortable so it made doing the zerg strat seem a lot easier.  You shouldn’t go into the fight doing it this way and thinking you can kill it in a few pulls in other words.  Any way you do it, it will take you quite a few pulls to figure things out.  Just don’t get frustrated, stick with a strategy that feels right with you and get used to it.

1tank2healer7dps

Every other DPS needs to focus the boss. The boss will enrage at 2:20 and start spewing bolts which will most likely one shot people.  Fortunately you can mitigate this and immune damage and hopefully kill him before he kills everyone.  With this method I believe that the boss will do 2 interrupting jolts which you should have 2 raidwide cooldowns for.  The two main points that will prevent you from killing this boss is if you don’t work out the first phase.  For example your tank keeps dying or your extra add is in a weird position or people don’t know how to grab their anima golems.  As paladins of whatever class, you should have zero problem keeping agro on your add since you have a taunt yourself. (You will not believe how difficult this can be…) The second point is people who don’t get out of anima font.  Standing in Anima font will take as I said 375,000 damage.  Even with heroic gear this is quite nearly 60% of your health.  With your add hitting you and the Touch of Animus debuff you really can not stand in this shit.  GTFO for reals.

Final Words

This will be the hardest boss you come in contact with up to this point so don’t get discouraged if it’s taking you longer to kill him.  The more you understand the fight, the easier it will be for you to figure out what’s wrong and improve.  There’s nothing more annoying that having people die to things which they don’t know what the cause was.  For your guild and your own sanity, understand the fight to at least at a basic minimum of knowing what the spells from each mob is the general animus mechanic.  Do this and stick with it and persevere!  Check out the links below for version of the maps and tables you can edit for your guild.  Hope this helps!

As always I make many mistakes.  If you spot something please let me know.

Link to Editable Fight Map (Powerpoint, Top Part of Images)

Link to Anima Timing (Excel, Bottom Part of Images)

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2 thoughts on “Heroic Dark Animus

  1. Just zerg boss no need to have fancy tactic like this..

    • You can choose to zerg the boss if you have enough gear. Unfortunately there are some guilds out there still without the gear level necessary for the zerg tactic or who would rather do the boss the normal way and this guide is mostly aimed at them. Furthermore, just because the tactic is called the “zerg” tactic doesn’t mean it’s easy to carry out. If you are trying to kill the boss with the zerg tactic you may find that you will get quickly frustrated with the amount of RNG and other mechanics of the fight that are better dealt with in the standard strategy. We can all have our opinions on which tactic is better and our own reasons.

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