Gara'jal the Spiritbinder Detailed Strategy Guide (Heroic Mode included)

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Boss Icon - Gara'jal the Spiritbinder
Introduction

This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Gara'jal the Spiritbinder in Mogu'shan Vaults. It is targeted at anyone who desires to understand the fight mechanics.

This guide is updated for World of Warcraft MoP 5.4.

Gara'jal the Spiritbinder is the third boss in the Mogu'shan Vaults raid instance. The encounter is a single-phase fight, which will test your raid's ability to work together in a coordinated fashion.

More than anything else, the fight will strain your DPS players, who must kill the boss before the rather short enrage timer.

1. General Information↑top

1.1. Health Values

Difficulty Gara'jal Shadowy Minions Spirit Totem Severer of Souls
10-man 117M 269K 300K ???
10-man heroic 179M 380K 337K ???
25-man 309M 505K 505K ???
25-man heroic 543M ???K ???K ???
LFR 218M 303,000 Not killable 316,000

1.2. Enrage Timer

Gara'jal will enrage after 6 minutes in all difficulties.

1.3. Raid Composition

Difficulty Tanks Healers DPS
10-man 2 2-3 5-6
10-man heroic 2 2 6
25-man 2 5-7 16-18
25-man heroic 2 5 18
LFR 2 5 18

2. Loot↑top

2.1. Armor

Item Name Armor Slot Main Stats
Shadowsummoner Spaulders Icon Shadowsummoner Spaulders (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Shoulders Intellect
Sandals of the Severed Soul Icon Sandals of the Severed Soul (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Feet Intellect/Spirit
Spaulders of the Divided Mind Icon Spaulders of the Divided Mind (LFR, Heroic) Leather Shoulders Intellect
Netherrealm Shoulderpads Icon Netherrealm Shoulderpads (LFR, Heroic) Leather Shoulders Agility
Leggings of Imprisoned Will Icon Leggings of Imprisoned Will (LFR, Heroic) Mail Legs Intellect
Fetters of Death Icon Fetters of Death (LFR, Heroic) Mail Waist Agility
Bindings of Ancient Spirits Icon Bindings of Ancient Spirits (LFR, Heroic) Plate Wrists Intellect
Bonded Soul Bracers Icon Bonded Soul Bracers (LFR, Heroic) Plate Wrists Strength
Sollerets of Spirit Splitting Icon Sollerets of Spirit Splitting (LFR, Heroic) Plate Feet Strength/Dodge

2.2. Weapons

Item Name Type Main Stats
Gara'kal, Fist of the Spiritbinder Icon Gara'kal, Fist of the Spiritbinder (LFR, Heroic) One-Hand Fist Weapon Agility
Eye of the Ancient Spirit Icon Eye of the Ancient Spirit (LFR, Heroic) Shield Intellect/Spirit

2.3. Amulets and Rings

Item Name Type Main Stats
Soulgrasp Choker Icon Soulgrasp Choker (LFR, Heroic) Amulet Strength
Circuit of the Frail Soul Icon Circuit of the Frail Soul (LFR, Heroic) Ring Intellect/Spirit

3. Overview of the Fight↑top

The fight against Gara'jal the Spiritbinder is a single phase fight that takes place in two different "realms". The boss, as well as your raid, is located in what we now call the Normal World. Several adds are located within the Spirit World, from where they continuously damage your raid.

Throughout the fight, several raid members will choose (and in some cases, be forced) to temporarily go into the Spirit World, in order to kill adds, and keep raid damage under control.

When the boss reaches 20% health, he goes into a frenzy, dealing increased damage. More importantly, the raid damage will increase as well. Indeed, at this stage, players will no longer be able to enter the Spirit World to kill the adds. This constitutes a soft enrage mechanics that will eventually wipe the raid.

In addition to the various tasks your raid must perform, a rather high amount of raid DPS is required to beat the enrage timer.

The fight bears many similarities to the heroic version of the Valiona and Theralion encounter in The Bastion of Twilight (and, to a lesser extent, to the normal mode of that fight). Those who have not experienced this encounter need not concern themselves.

3.1. Video by Inner Sanctum

25-man Heroic kill

4. The Normal World↑top

The Normal World is where the boss is located for the entire duration of the fight. This is also where your raid is located by default. Occasionally, some raid members will be able to take incursions into the Spirit World, for no more than 30 seconds at a time.

In this section, we will discuss everything that pertains to the Normal World.

4.1. Abilities

In the Normal World, Gara'jal makes use of a series of abilities.

  • Gara'jal will Summon Spirit Totem Icon Summon Spirit Totems, every 20 seconds. These totems are the only means for your raid members to enter the Spirit World, with the exception of your tanks, who have an additional means available, namely Banishment Icon Banishment. The totems work differently in the different game modes
    • In LFR, the totems are not attackable. In order to enter the Spirit World, players must simply right-click a totem. Three totems spawn each time, and there is no limit to the number of players who can enter the Spirit World.
    • In 10 and 25-man, the totems are attackable and killable. When a totem is killed, the nearest players within 6 yards of the totem will be sent to the Spirit World. The nearest 3 players are sent in 10-man, while the nearest 5 are sent in 25-man. Only one totem is spawned each time. Players who enter the Spirit World in this way are brought down to 30% of their maximum health.
  • Gara'jal turns the current tank and 2 other random raid members (3 raid members in 25-man and LFR) into Voodoo Dolls Icon Voodoo Dolls. 70% (50% in LFR) of the damage taken by each Voodoo Doll is also dealt to the other Voodoo Dolls (excluding, of course, the transferred damage from Voodoo Dolls itself). The effect lasts for 1 minute. Voodoo Dolls cannot enter the Spirit World (such as through the use of Spirit Totems).
  • Banishment Icon Banishment is cast by Gara'jal on the Voodoo Doll tank, as soon as the Voodoo Doll effect expires. This sends the tank into the Spirit World.
  • Every 8 seconds or so, Gara'jal will use a Shadowy Attack against the tank. This is simply an attack that deals Shadow damage and ignores absorption effects.
  • Frenzy Icon Frenzy increases Gara'jal's attack speed by 50% and his damage by 25%, when he reaches 20% health. Once in the Frenzy state, Gara'jal stops summoning Spirit Totems. On the Beta, in LFR, the boss continued to summon these totems. We have yet to determine if this is intentional.

4.2. Normal World Strategy

The strategy for the Normal World is rather simple. Not counting the specifics of sending designated players into the Spirit World (covered in a dedicated section), your raid has the following concerns:

  • DPS Gara'jal and heal the raid and tank damage.
  • Account for the increased damage taken by Gara'jal's tank.
  • The off-tank must prepared to taunt the boss whenever the current tank is Banished to the Spirit World.
  • Contend with the very intense damage your tank and raid will sustain after Gara'jal goes below 20% health.

4.2.1. Voodoo Doll Tank Damage

The Voodoo Doll tank will be taking high damage, due to the combination of boss melee hits and mirrored damage from the other Voodoo Dolls. These other Voodoo Doll raid members will be taking damage from adds located in the Spirit World, which also damage players in the Normal World (we discuss them in detail in a further section).

Healers must be aware of this increased damage, and always make sure that there is ample healing on the tank.

4.2.2. Taunting Gara'jal

The off-tank must be prepared to taunt Gara'jal as soon as the main tank is Banished to the Spirit World. This will happen immediately after Voodoo Dolls expires from the main tank, and it should be easy to track.

While Vodoo Dolls is active on a tank, Gara'jal will only attack that tank, and it is not possible for the other tank to take over. Taunting Gara'jal during this time still affects the threat table normally, but the boss will simply not act on this. As such, the off-tank can make sure to be second (or first) on threat by the time the main tank is Banished, at the end of Voodoo Dolls.

4.2.3. Shadowy Attacks

Every 8 seconds, Gara'jal will hit the tank with a Shadowy Attack. This is only relevant in the sense that Shadowy Attacks deal slightly more damage than normal attacks, and bypass absorption effects. Tanks and healers must be prepared for this.

4.2.4. Frenzy

When the Gara'jal goes below 20% health, he goes into a Frenzy Icon Frenzy. This causes the boss to do increased damage to the tank, but, more importantly, it prevents the raid from entering the Spirit World and killing the adds located there. This means that the raid damage will continue to escalate as more and more adds spawn. As a result of this, the tank damage will also escalate because of the increased damage on the Voodoo Doll raid members.

Healers must be prepared for this period and have all their defensive cooldowns available. This is also the ideal time for Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism/Time Warp Icon Time Warp.

5. Spirit World↑top

The Spirit World is different, depending on whether the player entered it as a result of interacting with a Spirit Totem or, if they are tanks, as a result of Banishment Icon Banishment. Since Spirit Totems are the primary means of entering the Spirit World, this will be the main focus of this section. Tanks entering the Spirit World through Banishment should refer to this section.

The Spirit World is populated by adds called Shadowy Minions. These adds spawn regularly throughout the course of the encounter. They have two spells, one which deals damage to players in the Normal World and one which deals damage to players in the Spirit World.

  • Spiritual Grasp Icon Spiritual Grasp deals Shadow damage to a random player in the Normal World.
  • Shadow Bolt Icon Shadow Bolt deals Shadow damage to a random player in the Spirit World. This spell is not cast in LFR.

5.1. Entering the Spirit World

The only means of entering the Spirit World, for everyone except tanks, is through Spirit Totems. Interacting with these totems is different, depending on whether you are raiding in LFR or in 10/25-man mode.

5.1.1. LFR

In LFR, players can enter the Spirit World by right clicking the Spirit Totems that Gara'jal summons every 20 seconds. There is no limit to the number of players who can enter for each totem.

5.1.2. 10/25-man

In 10 and 25-man, entering the Spirit World is slightly more difficult. Here, the Spirit Totems summoned by Gara'jal are attackable and killable (their health is very low). When a Spirit Totem is killed, the closest 3 players (within 6 yards) to it are transported into the Spirit World.

As opposed to LFR, here there is a clear limit to the number of players that can be in the Spirit World at one given time. Given the 10-second difference between the cooldown Spirit Totems and the duration of the maximum stay in the Spirit World, more than 3 players can sometimes be inside for a brief period of time (5 players appears to be the absolute limit).

Moreover, and very importantly, players who enter the Spirit World in 10 and 25-man are brought to 30% of their maximum health.

5.2. Exiting the Spirit World

Players may remain in the Spirit World for, at most, 30 seconds. At the end of this period of time, depending on whether you are in LFR or 10/25, your journey will come to an end in a specific way.

  • In LFR, players who are still in the Spirit World when 30 seconds expire are instantly send back out into the Normal World.
  • In 10/25-man, players who are still in the Spirit World when 30 seconds expire are instantly killed.

Keeping track of how long you have left in the Spirit World is made easy by a 30-second debuff.

There is only one way to voluntarily exit the Spirit World, namely by using Return Soul Icon Return Soul, a special action button that will appear on your screen.

In LFR, this button is always present, from the moment when you enter the Spirit World. Therefore, exiting the Spirit World is a simple matter of clicking the button.

In 10/25-man, things are, again, a bit more difficult. As we noted in the section above, players who enter the Spirit World in 10/25-man are brought down to 30% health. The only way for the Return Soul button to appear is for the player to be healed up to 100% health.

Moreover, whenever a player is healed inside the Spirit World, they gain a buff, called Spiritual Innervation. We discuss this below.

5.3. Spiritual Innervation

While inside the Spirit World, any healing done to raid members stacks a buff on them, called Spiritual Innervation. This buff offers players an increase in haste, as well as an increase in regeneration rate of their main resource. In some cases, it also offers an increase in the proc rate of certain specialisation-specific mechanics. We will not go into a list of all the buffs offered by Spiritual Innvervation, by class, since they are mostly homogeneous. The important thing to note is the end result of Spiritual Innervation.

  • DPS players will be able to do increased DPS.
  • Healers will regenerate their mana very quickly.

It is important to note that the Spiritual Innervation buff lasts for 30 seconds, so it will last for well after the players leave the Spirit World.

5.4. Spirit World Strategy

Within the Spirit World, the strategy is simple. The players inside the Spirit World must each perform their own tasks, depending on their role.

  • DPS players must interrupt and kill the Shadowy Minions with all urgency.
  • Healers must quickly top off all players in the Spirit World (to enable the Return Soul Icon Return Soul ability), and then continue healing them.

For healers, the Spirit World is a mana regeneration haven, which will, in most cases, result in filling up the healer's mana pool before they return to the Normal World.

5.5. Spirit World for Tanks

At the end of Voodoo Dolls Icon Voodoo Dolls, the current tank (who had been made into a Vodoo Doll) will be banished into the Spirit World. This is a special kind of Spirit World, where they will only have to contend with a single mob, a Severer of Souls.

The tank has 30 seconds to kill this mob. It has low health, so this should really not be a problem at all. Once the mob is dead, the tank will be sent back out into the Normal World.

Keep in mind that failing to kill the mob in the alloted time will instantly kill the tank.

Other raid members who are inside the Spirit World cannot see the Severer of Souls or attack it in any way.

6. Designating Spirit World Players↑top

The most crucial aspect of planning your success is deciding who will go into the Spirit World. In LFR, this is hardly a concern because any number of people can go through without difficulty, and because the damage done by most abilities is low enough that an inefficient strategy will not necessarily cause a wipe.

In 10 and 25-man, however, you will have to send in one healer and a team of DPS players with each Spirit Totem. To do this, these players will have to be the closest raid members to that totem when it is killed (they will stack on it, most likely). 2 DPS players will go through in 10-man, while 4 DPS players will go through in 25-man.

You should rotate all the raid's healers, so that they each get to enter the Spirit World one or more times. This is because the mana regeneration within the Spirit World is immense.

Take into account that Voodoo Dolls Icon Voodoo Dolls is cast on random raid members, and it prevents them from entering the Spirit World. This means you must assign back-ups for those designated to enter the Spirit World.

The Shadowy Minions are not hard to kill, so not all DPS players who enter the Spirit World must remain there for the full 30 seconds. Instead, it is best if some DPS players (1 in 10-man, 2 in 25-man) only enter until their Spiritual Innervation buff is refreshed and stacked up, at which point they should exit the Spirit World and continue DPSing Gara'jal. While inside the Spirit World, these players can DoT the adds.

In terms of optimising your raid's DPS, it is best to send classes that can AoE or multi-DoT effectively in the Spirit World, while leaving single-target classes in the Normal World. Some of these single-target DPS players will be going into the Spirit World only to refresh their Spiritual Innervation buff.

7. DPS Challenge↑top

In entry-level raid gear, the Gara'jal 6-minute enrage timer will prove to be a rather pressing challenge for your raid. While using fewer healers to maximise raid DPS is one way to alleviate the problem, it will prove to have a much greater impact to have appropriate uptime of Spiritual Innervation on your DPS players, and to have these players maximise their DPS on the boss.

Gara'jal 6-minute enrage timer will 1-shot the raid, not allowing you to continue DPSing at all past this point.

8. When to Use Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp↑top

The most difficult time for your raid will be the end of the fight, when both tank damage (from Frenzy Icon Frenzy and Voodoo Dolls Icon Voodoo Dolls) and raid damage (from overwhelming numbers of Shadowy Minions) will be intense.

Therefore, you should use Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp when the boss is below 20% health.

9. Learning the Fight↑top

As we have mentioned above, the most important element of executing this fight is assigning players to enter (and exit) the Spirit World properly.

Aside from this, the rest of the encounter should not pose many problems to your raid.

10. Heroic Mode↑top

The Heroic mode of Gara'jal the Spiritbinder makes for an extremely challenging fight. The fight presents your raid with a brutal race against the enrage timer, as well as a high amount of damage.

10.1. Differences from Normal Mode

There are several differences from the Normal mode version of the fight.

  • Gara'jal has vastly more health, but the enrage timer remains the same.
  • Voodoo Dolls take 100% of the damage taken by the Voodoo Doll tank, up from 70% in Normal mode.
  • Gara'jal and the adds all deal considerably more damage with all of their abilities.
  • Players who return to the Normal World are debuffed with Frail Soul Icon Frail Soul, which kill them if they attempt to enter the Spirit World again within 30 seconds.
  • Tanks who enter the Spirit World as a result of Banishment Icon Banishment now have to defeat three Severer of Souls adds, instead of just one. Two of these three adds are also visible to other players in the Spirit World, while the other is only visible to the tank.

10.2. Strategy

The strategy for Heroic Gara'jal the Spiritbinder revolves around several key aspects. We discuss them all in the sub-sections below.

10.2.1. Beating the Enrage Timer

While beating the enrage timer is only a consideration that you will have to take into account when you have perfected the other elements of the encounter, it is something that will shape you raid composition, as well as several other choices.

Gara'jal has a 6 minute enrage timer, in both 10 and 25-man, and a health pool that is significantly larger than in Normal mode. This means that you will have to use the minimum amount of healers for the fight, 2 in 10-man, and 5 in 25-man. It is possible to use as few as 4 healers in 25-man, but you then run the risk of random deaths. Moreover, these healers will have to contribute with DPS whenever they can.

Additionally, of course, it means that your DPS players will have to perform excellently.

10.2.2. Surviving the Damage

The aspect that will cause you the most problems on this fight is the brutal damage that the tank takes. All of this damage is then transferred to the Voodoo Dolls, instead of only 70% in Normal mode.

While Gara'jal's regular melee attacks are very damaging (and can result in as much as 180,000 damage on the Voodoo Dolls), it is his Shadowy Attacks that constitute the main cause of death for the Voodoo Dolls.

Note that the Shadowy Attacks bypass absorption effects, such as Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield or Shield Barrier Icon Shield Barrier.

While tank deaths can, of course, occur, the main risk is the other Voodoo Dolls will suddenly die. Therefore, it is less important how well a tank can survive on their own, and more important how much that tank can reduce the damage that the Voodoo Dolls take.

Some tanking classes are better at this than others. Arguably the best two classes for the encounter are Warriors and Monks. In the case of Warriors, this is becauase they can consistently have Shield Block Icon Shield Block up for every Shadowy Attack (the attacks can indeed be blocked), which reduces their damage greatly. Monks are great because their Stagger mechanic works with the Shadowy Attacks (despite the fact that Stagger is only meant to work on Physical damage, and Shadowy Attacks are Shadow damage), again leading to greatly reduced damage on the Voodoo Dolls.

While it is certainly possible to kill the boss with Paladin, Druid, or Death Knight tanks, these classes are at a disadvantage, since they have no reliable way to ensure that each Shadowy Attack is mitigated. In the case of Death Knights, Shadowy Attacks bypass their Mastery: Blood Shield Icon Mastery: Blood Shield absorption. Even though Blood Shield serves to absorb or soften subsequent melee attacks from Gara'jal, the overall survivability of Voodoo Dolls is lower than with a Warrior or Monk tank.

In addition to this, the tanks should be making regular use of their defensive cooldowns in order to mitigate the damage that the Voodoo Dolls take. Particularly, the tanks should watch out for times when their active mitigation is unavailable, or when some of the Voodoo Dolls are dangerously low on health.

Likewise, the Voodoo Dolls themselves must always be prepared to use defensive cooldowns if their health is low.

10.2.3. Spirit World Assignments and Strategy

Due to Frail Soul Icon Frail Soul, you cannot have a single team assigned to entering the Spirit World. Indeed, a player can only enter the Spirit World every other Spirit Totem spawn.

In 10-man raids, you will probably have to implement spontaneous assignments, depending on who is turned into a Voodoo Doll. The reason for this is that out of the 8 players who can theoretically go into the Spirit World, 3 will have the Frail Soul debuff, and up to 2 others could have Voodoo Dolls. This means that the remaining 3 players will have to enter the Spirit World.

In 25-man, you have a bit more flexibility, and you can create some pre-determined assignments (two or three Spirit World teams, and a few back-ups for each).

Inside the Spirit World, things remain relatively unchanged. The only difference is that players inside the Spirit World can see and attack two of the tank's Severer of Souls adds. They should focus on killing these adds, generally, but depending on the tank's DPS, you can throttle down the amount of attention that DPS players give them.

11. Achievement: Sorry, Were You Looking for This?↑top

The Sorry, Were You Looking for This? Icon Sorry, Were You Looking for This? achievement is part of the Glory of the Pandaria Raider Icon Glory of the Pandaria Raider meta achievement. The achievement is both simple and easy to complete.

In order to complete the achievement, a raid member must right click and channel an Ancient Mogu Artifact, located the center of the Spirit World.

Even though channeling this will reduce that player's performance, this does not matter because you do not need to also defeat Gara'jal in the same attempt. Therefore, this can easily be completed while on a learning attempt or when a wipe has been decided.

12. Concluding Remarks↑top

This concludes our Gara'jal the Spiritbinder raid guide. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, you are always welcome to post them on our forums, or to send us an e-mail.