This is part of a series of posts about the role of rogues in Ulduar. The focus is on 10-man raids, but on occasion mention will be made about 25-man strategies as well. This is not meant to be a general strategy guide. It is completely targeted at rogues, their abilities, and their strengths in specific combats. Much of what is written could apply to other melee dps as well.
The Descent into Madness is very cool. If you have your music turned off or down, its worth turning it up for your first trip in there. Very creepy. The bosses in there are very H.P. Lovecraft-eqsue.
General Vezax is a huge bug-looking boss. He is surrounded by trash mobs, but he won’t pull with them unless you get really really close. Note that when you kill the leftmost trash pack, the left Faceless One will come. Then, when you kill the center trash pack, the right Faceless One will come. Once you have killed all three trash packs and both Faceless Ones, its just you and Vezax alone in the room.
Let me be honest – this is an easy fight for rogues, and a complicated fight for casters. Try to be sympathetic while they learn it.
The fight is even easier if your tank and healers are geared enough to keep the tank alive through the Surge of Darkness. When this fight first appeared, the strategy required tanks to kite him during the Surge (which increases his damage by 100%). If you have tanks and healers that are mostly in iLvL 219 or above, then you can probably hold the boss still and your tank can survive the Surge and the fight is dramatically simpler. With the new Emblem of Conquest system, you should be able to gear up your tanks and healers to accomplish this.
Lets assume that you’re holding the boss stationary for the fight. In that case, your are going to get behind the boss and dps and interrupt, and that’s it. Watch your threat – use TotT to give threat to the tank if needed, and Vanish sometime to wipe your threat.
You have one super important job. Vexaz will cast Searing Flames once every 12-15 seconds. You can’t miss it – the boss lights up like a Christmas tree during the two second cast time. This MUST be interrupted. If he gets a single cast off, then you will likely wipe because the spell reduces everyone’s armor by 75%. I can’t stress enough that this MUST be interrupted every time.
You, rogue, can do this job by yourself if the boss is being held stationary. Your Kick has a 10-second cooldown, and he casts Searing Flames every 12-15 seconds. As soon as your Kick is off cooldown, get ready to use it. Kick when you see the flashing lights. You can interrupt 100% of the casts. I am personally very careful… once my Kick is off cooldown I just let myself autoattack so that I have no chance to miss the interrupt. Then, during the 10 seconds that Kick is on cooldown I attack like crazy.
If, for some reason, you accidentally blow your Kick at the wrong time (I have done this due to nervous fingers) then call out for a mage or shaman or warrior or anyone else to get the next Searing Flames cast. Then resume your Kick rotation.
One other word of advice for rogues – use Wound Poison. Vezax has an ability called Mark of the Faceless on the players at range. If it hits anyone, it heals Vezax for huge amounts of health. While its easy to yell at the ranged classes to avoid it, its also prudent to apply Wound Poison. This cuts Vezax’ healing in half and shortens the fight.
There are all kinds of crazy things going on in this fight – Surge of Darkness, Shadow Crash, black pools, green pools, Saronite Vapors, and a total lack of mana regeneration for the casters and healers. None of that has any impact on what rogues do. Since this is a rogue guide, I’ll leave all of that for someone else to explain.
If you find that your tank cannot survive the Surge of Darkness periods, then your raid may want to kite Vezax. When Vezax casts Surge of Darkness, his damage is increased by 100% but his movement speed is reduced. Thus, a tank can run away from Vezax during this time and prevent taking the increased damage.
The added difficulty here is twofold…
First – if you don’t keep in melee range of the boss, then you could be hit with all of that bad stuff that only happens to ranged classes – Shadow Crash, Mark of the Faceless, etc… That’s bad. So you have to keep up with Vezax as much as possible. Use Sprint if you fall behind.
Second, Vezax can still cast the Searing Flames while being kited. If you find yourself out of melee range, then you may not be able to get the Kick in time. In this case, urge your ranged interrupts (mage, shaman) to get any Searing Flames casts while he is being kited.
Because of this, if it is at all possible for your raid to keep him stationary, urge them to do so.
Vezax drops some very nice loot. On 10-man, he has two very desirable items. The Choker of the Abyss is a great neck item. Shadowbite is a great main hand dagger (and the first one that drops in Ulduar 10-man).
On 25-man there is the Metallic Loop of the Sufferer, a good dps ring.
Hard modes have better stuff, of course. 10-man hard mode has the Drape of the Faceless General for your back if you’re stacking armor penetration, or Void Sabre as a fast off-hand sword. 25-man hard mode gives the amazing Pendulum of Infinity for the neck slot.