We have finally reached Gul’dan, the last boss in the Nighthold raid. As with many other bosses in this instance here too we have several options for distributing tank roles and responsibilities. Depending on your co-tank, healer composition and individual player experience you might favor one strategy over the other.
There is essentially a range of strategies for splitting up the roles between tanks going from both co-tank doing all the mechanics to specialized main and off-tank each dealing with a set of mechanics. Each of them are perfectly viable, but on the verge of Patch 7.2.5 and all the gear and traits that we have there is one tactic that is generally favored.
Co-tanking, no specialization
Tanks share scythe damage and trigger it at 30 energy resulting in a constant haste buff on the boss. When bonds is cast and the active tank is flung away, the co-tank picks up the boss. Bonds are solo broken.
You swap the boss on soulsever.
Sharing the scythe makes the magic damage in this phase negligible. The constant 30% haste increase on the other hands makes the incoming physical damage much more substantial. Big CDs will be used to break bonds and you will have to rely solely on your active mitigation when tanking Gul’dan.
Co-tanking, w/ specialization
Tanks share scythe damage and trigger it at 30 energy resulting in a constant haste buff on the boss. bonds are always handled by one tank. He taunts the boss only to take bonds and the active tank taunts back. Bonds are solo broken.
You swap the boss on soulsever or have the active tank always stay on the boss while the bonds/soak tank deals with the adds.
Active boss tank
Sharing the scythe makes the magic damage in this phase negligible. The constant 30% haste increase on the other hands makes the incoming physical damage much more substantial. Active boss tank will need 100% SB and can use big CDs to mitigate physical damage. Bonds/soak tank will be taking close to no physical damage and will need heavy magic damage mitigation and frequent CD usage.
Main tank / Off tank – Recommended strategy
Main tank is on Gul’dan throughout the whole encounter and solo soaks 100 energy scythe. This requires stacking and rotating heavy mitigation cooldowns, but drastically reduces the haste increase buff uptime on the boss. bonds are always handled by off tank. He taunts the boss only to take bonds and the active tank taunts back. Bonds are solo broken.
Main tank is full time on the boss and tanks every soulsever. Off tank handles adds.
Solo soaking scythe requires some planning and coordination. You will want a double stacked IP if possible. Other than that though, there isn’t anything very difficult to this strat. You will suffer less melee hits because the boss will rarely have his 30% haste buff. You will always keep the recharge on your cooldowns rolling.
This is essentially Phase 2 from the Normal/Heroic version of Gul’dan.
To do list
When taking bonds, don’t forget that you get flung away from the boss for a good distance. Make sure there is enough of the platform left behind you so that you don’t fall off. You can use leap to break the bonds. The damage is dealt at the edge of your restraining circle, not at your landing spot.
Adds spawn throughout this phase. The first one will come at the start and should be picked up by the currently non-active tank. It should die before the the bonds come in and ideally before it casts the second vortex. With current gear and traits the second add should not spawn.
Eyes usually spawn in 360 degrees around the boss. To try and limit their spawning area and keep them clustered you should be tanking the boss on the edge of the platform. This way you cut off his whole right side and eyes can only spawn on one side, should be more compact and prime for AoE.
To do list
scythe management should stay the same. For cooldown rotation refer to the “timeline” section.
When you get targeted by fire patches, place them as close to each other as possible. You can afford to stack them on top of each other. You will get some damaging ticks by doing so, but it should be easily manageable. Make sure to not run over anyone when dropping your patches.
For storm ideally you should be moving out. Depending on how your raid wants to position the boss you would either change locations after each storm (to the opposite side of the middle well) or you will keep the boss on the same spot. If the latter, use leap to get back into position. In either case, the boss should be in melee range of people soaking souls inside the well.
If you are soaking souls, remember to stay 5 yards away from other players.
Lastly, winds will always come from North to South. Make sure you don’t run into anyone while you are trying to run against the winds since scythe will still trigger. Use leap to quickly get back into position. If you run through the well you will drop aggro and Gul’dan might scythe other players who are stacked and are high on the threat meter.
To do list
Similar to scythe, regardless of chosen strategy, you will need to go in with a plan for your cooldown rotation, tank swaps and healer externals. Prepare for this before the raid starts. You need to have your heavy mitigation active for the soulsever and the period of healing absorption that comes afterwards. The incoming damage will be entirely physical. Maximize your SB uptime and Neltharion’s Fury integration. Make sure you have one of those up for each soulsever cast.
The adds should be tanked close to the boss for fast cleave burst. As they are about to die, drag them in position close to the nightorbs.
Lastly, when the boss casts Kill, your whole raid needs to go and stand inside the addpool left by killing the add. This fills up their HP and you need to fill up all of them. As soon as they are at full HP they turn into purify. Then you need to run inside the bubble left by a recently killed nightorb. The boss is interrupted and lands, you continue the fight as usual. After the second Kill, the boss will be taking 150% extra damage for 30sec. Your raid should be CCing the adds and everybody should be focusing on killing the boss.
Feeling lost? Start with the basics.
This guide is intended for tanks, specifically protection warriors who are familiar with the encounter either through doing the Heroic version or going through a general overview and strategy guide like these:
For a quick at a glance reference cheat sheet for each of the bosses check:
When triggering scythe make sure that you time it right before the boss casts one of his other abilities. This way the haste buff that is applied to Gul’dan will start expiring while he is busy casting his spell and is not melee hitting you. If you solo soak, then it happens when it happens, you will still have your big damage mitigation rolling and it will cover the majority of the haste buff.
You will mostly be tanking the boss on one spot, however after each wave of ehellfire you will have to move the boss away from the puddles. You need to put distance between the majority of the raid and the ranged which will be getting the next waves of ehellfire.
If you are on bonds duty you should try and time it so that you leap and Intercept the active tank to take the scythe hit while you still have your cooldowns up from breaking bonds. That is only if you decided to share bonds.
If you are solo soaking scythe, the transition into this phase becomes very tricky. Due to the nature of procs and other variables the boss will be reaching 50% HP at different energy levels between pulls. Your co-tank should come in for a break shortly before the boss transitions. With Gul’dan’s energy low (less than 30) for the winds at the start of P2 even if you accidentally run into another player the triggered scythe wont one shot them.
During winds, if you are constantly running into people you might want to have your co-tank trigger scythes right before the winds, same as on the transition. Even if you run into someone like that, a 10-20 energy scythe should not kill them.
Timing your cooldowns so they are up for the 100 energy scythe hits is crucial here. There are some points where the boss will sit on 100 energy and not cast his scythe until he has finished a prior cast. If you use your CDs prematurely, they might go down by the time you get hit which will result in a one shot. It takes some practice and getting used to the timers and the boss behavior.
As a finishing note, there is the obvious fact that periods of healer movement are dangerous for tanks. There are plenty of these in this phase. If you are finding it difficult to survive or are often hovering on low health, make it a habit to call out for an external during winds or storms.
If you continue tanking the boss after his soulsever you need to make sure that you will have SB available for the whole duration of the healing absorb debuff. If you went the recommended strategy of solo tanking scythe then you wont have Heavy Repercussions for 100% SB uptime. You will have short windows of 3-4s of no SB. If your SB drops off as the boss is about jump to your co-tank take advantage of those 2-3s downtime and only reapply SB after the boss is back on you.
The best instances for SB downtime:
- While boss is casting puddle
- While you have a defensive proc – trinket, enchant, concordance or demo shout up
- After your healing absorb has been abolished and you have been toped off.
If you are off tanking you don’t really have to worry about anything here. SR on puddle. Tank the add, it will die fast. Focus on your movement and save leap to get to the proper spot fast if you are out of position. You will have only brief moments to dps in between puddle.
The given timepoints are of the moments when the big hit drops on you. Make sure to precast your defensives 1s before the damage comes i.e. during the ability cast time.
Using the recommended strategy, main tanks will be getting sustained blockable physical damage with infrequent spikes of magical damage which will be heavily mitigated. You need AM, BV and Indomitable to handle the magical damage and 25%-30% haste from gear to reach about 60%-70% SB uptime.
Using the recommended strategy, off tanks will be getting spike and sustained magical damage with small windows of low damage melee hits. You need AM, BV and Indomitable to handle the spike damage and versatility gear to smooth out the ticking damage.
Use demo shout as often as possible on cooldown.
Post patch 7.2 the fight duration can be expected to be about 11:30 minutes.
**Your timers may vary**
|Timer||Event||Main Tank||Off Tank|
|0:00||Pull Gul'dan||Taunt boss|
|0:08||bonds||Taunt boss||SR and walk out|
|0:17||Add spawn||Taunt add|
|0:27||eyes||Save rage but avoid cap|
|0:45||Add dies||Taunt for bonds|
|1:15||eyes||SR shield wall|
|1:16||100 Energy scythe hit|
|1:27||bonds||Taunt back||Taunt for bonds|
|1:52||100 Energy scythe hit||barrier|
|2:08||bonds||Taunt back||Taunt for bonds|
|2:29||100 Energy scythe hit||SR LS|
|2:40||Transition||Max 30 energy||Break if >30|
|3:19||100 Energy scythe hit||SR shield wall|
|3:38||harvest||5-6 stacks of souls|
|4:05||scythe hit||SR LS|
|4:17||9 stacks souls|
|5:05||scythe hit||SR + External + double IP OR SR + share with co-tank|
|6:00||scythe hit||SR LS|
|Timer||Event||Main Tank||Off Tank|
|7:07||soulsever||demo shout + double IP + NF|
|7:17||puddle + Add spawn||SR + Taunt add|
|7:27||soulsever||shield wall SB|
|7:57||puddle + Add spawn||SR + Taunt add|
|8:07||soulsever||External + NF|
|8:23||Kill||Enter addpool to fill up to full HP and turn into purify -> enter bubble|
|8:38||Add spawn||Taunt add|
|9:17||soulsever||demo shout + double IP + NF|
|9:20||Add spawn||Taunt add|
|9:52||Kill||Enter 3 addpool to fill up to full HP and turn into purify -> enter bubble|
|10:05||Add spawn||Crowd Control|
|10:42||Add spawn||Crowd Control|
|10:47||soulsever||demo shout + double IP + NF|
|11:07||soulsever||shield wall SB|
|11:22||Add spawn||Crowd Control|
|11:47||soulsever||External + NF|
Follow on social media
Share on social media