The fourth boss in ICC (and the last one available as of the date of this post) is by far the most challenging. He has an interesting fight mechanic that will challenge your raid’s awareness and control.
The primary mechanic in this fight is the boss’s Blood Power. You can see it in the boss’ unit frame where his mana/rage/energy bar would be. It starts at zero, and it will increase during the course of the fight. Saurfang gains Blood Power every time either he or his minions do damage to anyone in the raid.
For each point of Blood Power he gains, his size and damage will increase by 1%. As if that wasn’t bad enough, if it reaches 100 (a full bar) then Saurfang will place a Mark of the Fallen Champion on a raid member. That raid member will take continuous damage. The Mark cannot be dispelled, and even persists through death. Not only does the Mark do damage, but that damage will also contribute more points to Saurfang’s Blood Power gain. His Blood Power returns to zero when he casts Mark of the Fallen Champion, and the process starts again.
As you can see, the key to this fight is to avoid damage as much as possible to minimize his Blood Power gain. No matter how good your tanks and healers are, if there are too many Marks of the Fallen Champion on the raid then the fight is lost.
Here are the ways he does damage (and gains Blood Power):
- Boiling Blood – a debuff cast on random raid members. Its unavoidable and can’t be dispelled, although a priest’s Power Word: Shield.will block the damage on you (and prevent Blood Power gains). Don’t waste your CoS trying to get rid of it – it won’t work. (I don’t think it even prevented the damage ticks – can anyone else confirm this?)
- Blood Nova – this is only cast on players at range, so it shouldn’t have any impact on us rogues. The person with Blood Nova doesn’t take damage himself, but does damage to anyone within 12 yards. Ranged players must stay spread out to avoid this.
- Rune of Blood – cast only on the tanks, so rogues won’t get this either. The target with this takes debuff extra damage, and the damage heals Saurfang for 10x the amount dealt. For this reason, tanks will swap during the fight. Be aware of that in case it causes threat issues.
- Summon Blood Beasts – he will summon minions (2 on 10-man, 5 on 25-man) who give him a point of Blood Power each time they hit someone. It is imperative that no one gets hit by them. They are mostly immune to AoE damage, so they must be focused down. They can be slowed and snared.
The most important, and most challenging, part of the fight is to prevent the Blood Beasts from hitting anyone. If your players can do that, then Saurfang’s Blood Power gain, while inevitable, will be slow enough that you can kill him before his Marks overwhelm the raid.
The “textbook” strategy listed in all of the guides is to have the ranged dps get aggro on the Blood Beasts and kite them, using slow and snare effects, so that they can be killed before they reach anyone. If your raid can accomplish that, then the melee dps is free to stay on Saurfang for the entire fight. As long as rogues stay in melee range on the boss, they will avoid the Blood Nova, get healed through Boiling Blood, and ignore the Blood Beasts. Its a very simple fight for melee, in that case. All the pressure is on the ranged dps to kite and kill the beasts, and the healers to heal through the Marks.
One way a rogue can help other than pure dps is to Dismantle Saurfang when he gets to higher levels of Blood Power. Since his damage is increased at this point, it will help minimize the severity of hits on the tank.
When my guild did this fight, we found that the Marks were a real issue for us. When someone gets a Mark, not only does that divert healing but it also speeds up the rate that Saurfang gets Blood Power, making the second Mark come faster. We made the decision to let the first Marked player die if it was a dps. The slower Blood Power gain was more important than the loss of dps. That worked well for us, although it was a bummer for the person who got the first Mark.
What if your raid Doesn’t have the ranged dps to kill both Blood Beasts quickly? What if you have a melee-heavy group? That’s what my guild was faced with when we fought Saurfang, and we came up with a different strategy that worked. In fact, we got the achievement I’ve Gone and Made a Mess on our first kill.
We were in 10-man ICC so we had only two Beasts to deal with. Our raid leader assigned one of the Blood Beasts to ranged, and the other to melee. In order for this to work, melee had to burn down the Blood Beast without getting hit. The key was having multiple stuns available from the melee group.
When the two Blood Beasts spawned, our ranged dps pulled and kited one and focused it down. The other one got immediately stunned where it spawned by one of our tanks.
During the stun, melee dps would open up on it, which gave me a chance to build up some combo points quickly. When that first stun broke, the ret paladin in our melee group taunted it and pulled it a short way away from the tanks, and then he would stun it a second time. During this stun, I popped my TotT on the main tank. When that second stun broke, I had enough combo points to hit it with Kidney Shot and stun it a third time. If it wasn’t dead by the time that third stun was finished, then it would start moving back toward the tank (from my TotT) and we would kill it before it got there.
If, by chance, I got aggro on the Blood Beast (usually due to the pally’s stun being on cooldown) then I could use Evasion to avoid damage, or Vanish and Cheap Shot to get another stun, or get a PW:S from a priest as a last option.
This strategy can be varied depending on the group makeup. It is dependent on your melee having several stuns available, and it would be easier with multiple rogues to alternate stuns since they have a longer duration and shorter cooldown than pally stuns.
After he is killed, there is a nice bit of lore that you watch, and then the loot is found in a chest off in a corner. He drops some nice stuff. On 10-man, you’ll be watching for the Scourge Stranglers for your hand slot or Saurfang’s Cold-Forged Band as a nice ring.
If you’re in a 25-man raid, you’ll keep your eyes open for the Bloodvenom Blade if you are Combat Swords. Toskk’s Maximized Wristguards are a nice wrist item as well. Most interesting is Deathbringer’s Will. Its a trinket with 155 Armor Penetration, which is nice on its own for combat rogues. However, it also has a proc that is unusual. When it procs, it will give you either 1200 AP, 600 Agility, or 600 ArPen. While the unpredictability is inconvenient if you’re trying to stack Armor Pen to the cap, it still a really nice proc no matter which way it goes. Its slightly better for combat rogues than mutilate rogues, but definitely worth it for either.