Grand Empress Shek'zeer Detailed Strategy Guide (Heroic Mode included)

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Boss Icon - Grand Empress Shek'zeer
Introduction

This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Grand Empress Shek'zeer in Heart of Fear. It is targeted at anyone who desires to understand the fight mechanics.

This guide is updated for World of Warcraft MoP 5.4.

Grand Empress Shek'zeer is the sixth and final boss in the Heart of Fear raid instance. This is a very difficult encounter, and one worthy of being an end-raid boss.

The fight will place the highest stress on your healers, who must go through several very intense moments. It also requires a high amount of raid DPS.

1. General Information↑top

1.1. Health Values

Difficulty Shek'zeer Set'thik Windblade Kor'thik Reaver
10-man 196M 6.3M 42.2M
10-man Heroic 307M 17.7M 62.8M
25-man 620M 25.2M 126M
25-man Heroic 940M 53M 190M
LFR 457M 12.6M 21.1M

1.2. Enrage Timer

We are not sure of the enrage time of this boss in Normal mode, but it is at least 9 minutes.

In Heroic mode, the enrage timer is 15 minutes.

1.3. Raid Composition

Difficulty Tanks Healers DPS
10-man 2 2-3 5-6
10-man Heroic 2 2-4 4-6
25-man 2 5-7 16-18
25-man Heroic 2-3 6-9 13-17
LFR 2 5-6 17-18

2. Loot↑top

In addition to the items listed below, Shek'zeer drops the tokens that you will need for buying your Tier 14 Chest parts.

2.1. Armor

Item Name Armor Slot Main Stats
Leggings of Shadow Infestation Icon Leggings of Shadow Infestation (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Legs Intellect
Hood of Dark Dreams Icon Hood of Dark Dreams (LFR, Heroic) Mail Head Intellect
Crown of the Doomed Empress Icon Crown of the Doomed Empress (LFR, Heroic) Mail Head Agility

2.2. Weapons

Item Name Type Main Stats
Kri'tak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm Icon Kri'tak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm (LFR, Heroic) Mace Intellect/Spirit
Claws of Shek'zeer Icon Claws of Shek'zeer (LFR, Heroic) Fist Weapon Agility

3. Overview of the Fight↑top

The encounter against Grand Empress Shek'zeer is a three-phase fight.

Phases One and Two will alternate until the boss reaches 30% health, at which point Phase Three begins. We detail this cycle below.

Phase One begins when the boss is engaged, and ends after 2 minutes and 30 seconds. During this phase, your only enemy is Grand Empress Shek'zeer.

Phase Two begins at the end of Phase One, and ends when all the adds that spawn during this phase are killed, or when 2 minutes and 30 seconds have elapsed since the start of the phase. Shek'zeer is not present during this phase, and cannot be damaged.

Phase One then starts again, and this cycle continues until Shek'zeer reaches 30% health, at which point Phase Three begins.

Phase Three begins when the boss reaches 30% health (something which can only happen during a Phase One, since the boss is not attackable during Phase Two), and ends when the boss is killed. During this phase, your only enemy is once again Shek'zeer.

The fight appears to have an enrage timer that is lenient enough to allow for at least two Phase One-Two alternations, but if your DPS is reasonably high, you should only go through one such alternation.

4. Phase One↑top

Phase One lasts for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The boss has an energy bar during this phase, which starts out at 150 energy and depletes slowly over time. When the energy bar reaches 0, the phase ends. However, this is of no concern to you, as the energy resource plays a purely cosmetic role in the encounter, and the phase will always end after 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Shek'zeer's energy has no interaction with her or your raid's abilities.

Once the phase ends, Shek'zeer disappears and cannot be attacked.

4.1. Abilities

During this phase, the boss will use several abilities.

4.1.1. Dissonance Fields And Cry of Terror

By far, the most important, and most problematic ability that you will have to deal with during this phase is Dissonance Field Icon Dissonance Field. This ability is tied to another boss ability, called Cry of Terror Icon Cry of Terror, so we will explain them together.

Twice during Phase One (30 seconds into the phase, and 60 seconds after that) Shek'zeer will place two Dissonance Fields on the ground, a little way apart from one another. For lack of a better description, these are yellowish swirly zones.

The Dissonance Fields have health pools, but they cannot be damaged by conventional means. They instead lose health each time a raid member casts a spell. Eventually, this causes the Dissonance Fields to die. All spells cast by your raid affect both Fields equally, so that they will normally die at the same time. Each time a Field dies, it deals a large amount of raid-wide Physical damage, through an ability called Sonic Discharge Icon Sonic Discharge.

Your raid's goal is to avoid having both fields die at the same time, since the combined damage will most likely cause several deaths, if not a wipe altogether. In order to make one Dissonance Field die faster than the other, you should have players stand inside the field and cast spells while in there. These spells will cause that particular Dissonance Field to take more damage than the other. The best way to ensure that the fields do not die together, though, is through the use of a debuff called Cry of Terror Icon Cry of Terror. Cry of Terror Icon Cry of Terror is a debuff that Shek'zeer places on a random caster or healer in your raid (it is never cast on tanks, melee DPS, or Hunters), 4 times during Phase One. Whenever the debuff is active, every raid member suffers a moderate amount of Shadow damage every 2 seconds. The debuff lasts 20 seconds.

Very importantly, when the player debuffed by Cry of Terror moves inside one of the Dissonance Fields, several things happen.

  • Cry of Terror no longer damages the raid.
  • The Dissonance Field takes increased damage (as compared to the other Dissonance Field), causing its health to go down faster.
  • The player cannot be healed while inside the Dissonance Field, all spells on them being absorbed. Interestingly, absorption effects such as Power Word: Shield Icon Power Word: Shield still work to mitigate the damage that this player takes.
  • The player continues to take damage from Cry of Terror while inside the field, in addition to which he also takes a moderate amount of damage every second from the Dissonance Field itself.

4.1.2. Other Abilities

During Phase One, Shek'zeer also uses two other abilities.

  • Eyes of the Empress Icon Eyes of the Empress is a debuff that Shek'zeer stacks on her current target. If the debuff reaches 5 stacks, the target becomes a Servant of the Empress Icon Servant of the Empress, essentially turning into a very powerful hostile mob, that is immune to crowd control.
  • Dread Screech Icon Dread Screech is an ability that Shek'zeer casts at random raid members (melee DPS and tanks not included), every 6 seconds or so. It affects 2 players in 10-man, and 5 players in 25-man and LFR, dealing a high amount of Physical damage to them, and any other allies within 5 yards.

4.2. Strategy

We will begin by stating two basic things that your raid must do during this phase, namely spread out at least 5 yards apart and perform a tank switch. These two tasks constitute the foundation of your strategy.

Additionally, your raid will have to handle the Dissonance Field Icon Dissonance Fields, and this will prove to be the greatest challenge of the phase.

The idea is that you should avoid having two Dissonance Fields dying within a few seconds of one another. To do this, you will have to choose a Dissonance Field to kill first, and have the player affected by Cry of Terror Icon Cry of Terror move inside it.

We will now go into further detail regarding these aspects.

4.2.1. Tanking Shek'zeer

As we mentioned, your two tanks will have to alternate tanking Shek'zeer. We advise tanks to switch at 4 stacks of the debuff. There is no complexity to this task.

In case a tank reaches 5 stacks, and thus becomes fully corrupted, you have no option but to DPS them down and resurrect them, in an attempt to continue the fight. In reality, though, this will probably lead to a wipe.

4.2.2. Positioning

Your raid will have to spend the entire phase spread out at least 5 yards apart, to avoid taking unnecessary damage from Dread Screech Icon Dread Screech. When players affected by Cry of Terror Icon Cry of Terror have to move to a Dissonance Field Icon Dissonance Field, they may briefly come within 5 yards of other players, but this is not really avoidable, nor should it cause any real problems.

4.2.3. Dissonance Fields

As we have stated above, handling the Dissonance Fields is by far the greatest challenge of this phase.

Your raid leader will designate which of the two Dissonance Fields should die first. While it is possible to decide ahead of time (since the Fields always spawn in the same locations), it is probably better to designate that Field which is located near to the random player targeted by Cry of Terror Icon Cry of Terror. By doing this, the affected player will not need to move through the entire raid to get to the Dissonance Field.

Players cannot spend too long inside the Dissonance Fields, because the Field deals damage to them, all the while preventing them from being healed. These players must also leave the field at least a few seconds before it dies, so that there is time to top them off before the raid-wide damage.

Your raid's goal will be to have the Sonic Discharge Icon Sonic Discharges far apart from one another. This will give you ample time to top off the raid. Obviously, the more time a player affected by Cry of Terror can spend inside a Dissonance Field, the less raid damage there will be from Cry of Terror, so this is beneficial.

In any case, you will have to experiment with this and see, in practice, what timing works best for your raid. Keep in mind that the first set of Dissonance Fields spawn 30 seconds into the fight, and the second set spawns 60 seconds after that. This means that you will have 60 seconds to deal with the first set, and 60 seconds to deal with the second set before the phase ends.

For mitigating the damage of the Dissonance Field explosions you should use raid cooldowns like Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry and Tranquility Icon Tranquility. Since the raid cannot stack, you cannot make good use of cooldowns such as Power Word: Barrier Icon Power Word: Barrier or Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem (although they can be used on the melee). Additionally, cooldowns that reduce magic damage do not work, since the damage is Physical.

5. Phase Two↑top

2 minutes and 30 seconds after the start of Phase One, Grand Empress Shek'zeer will disappear, and Phase Two will begin.

Phase Two ends when all the adds that spawn during this phase are killed, or after 2 minutes and 30 seconds have elapsed from the start of the phase. If 2 minutes and 30 seconds go by, Phase One will re-start even if there are adds left alive. The adds will not despawn.

5.1. Abilities

As soon as Phase Two starts, several adds will join the fight.

In both 10 and 25-man, 2 Kor'thik Reavers and 6 Set'thik Windblades spawn.

Set'thik Windblades are small adds that have several abilities.

  • Fixate Icon Fixate sometimes causes the Windblade to fixate on a random target, moving towards that target at highly reduced movement speed. The Fixate effect lasts for 30 seconds.
  • Dispatch Icon Dispatch is an interruptible spell that deals high amounts of Physical damage to random raid members.
  • Sonic Blade Icon Sonic Blade is an attack that the Windblade uses on its current target, which deals a high amount of damage and interrupts spell casting.
  • Sticky Resin Icon Sticky Resin is a sort of void zone that the Windblade places on the ground. When a player walks over a void zone, the void zone sticks to the player (being removed from the ground), and applies a debuff that deals a moderate amount of Nature damage every second to that player, also slowing their movement speed by 30%. When a player with this debuff walks over another void zone, the debuff disappears and the two void zones merge. If this process is repeated 3 more times (so when a total of 4 void zones are brought to an existing one), they turn into an Amber Trap Icon Amber Trap, which stuns the first mob that it comes in contact with and deals 5% of the mob's maximum health in damage every 2 seconds. The trapped add will remain stunned and continue to take damage until it dies. However, if any Windblades are alive when an add is trapped, they will go to them and free them from the trap.

Kor'thik Reavers are large adds that also have several abilities.

  • Poison Bomb Icon Poison Bomb is a 10-second debuff that the Reavers will sometimes cast on random players. When the debuff is applied, it deals a moderate amount of Nature damage to its target. Afterwards, it deals a small amount of Nature damage to a random raid member every 2 seconds.
  • Toxic Slime Icon Toxic Slime is a frontal cone attack that deals a high amount of Nature damage.
  • Poison-Drenched Armor Icon Poison-Drenched Armor is a debuff that the Reaver places on its current target. The debuff deals moderate Nature damage to the affected player, but also gives nearby raid members a chance to deal additional Nature damage with each attack.

When an add is within 8 yards of another add, they will both benefit from a buff called Band of Valor Icon Band of Valor, which increases their damage done by 30% for each add within 8 yards.

5.2. Strategy

Your raid's goal during this phase is to kill all the adds as quickly as possible. Generally speaking, you should kill the Windblades before the Reavers, and aim at having the Reavers trapped in Amber Trap Icon Amber Traps.

Since you are trying to build two Amber Traps, you will need to wait for Sticky Resin Icon Sticky Resin to be cast at least 10 times. This means that you may need to stop DPS on a few Windblades so that they have a chance to cast the final Sticky Resins that you need.

5.2.1. Dealing with Abilities

We will begin by stating that the 30% damage done increase that the adds get when in proximity of one another, from Band of Valor Icon Band of Valor, is not really problematic, as long as you do not tank all the adds together. In both 10 and 25-man, you should tank the adds in two groups. Therefore, you will have 1 Reaver and 3 Windblades on one tank, and the other Reaver and 3 Windblades on the other tank. Alternatively, you can have both Reavers on one tank, and all Windblades on another.

The Kor'thik Reavers will need to be tanked at all times, and faced away from the raid. Their tank will take damage from the frontal cone attack, from Poison-Drenched Armor Icon Poison-Drenched Armor, as well as from the rather high melee attacks of the Reavers.

Whenever a Set'thik Windblade begins casting Dispatch Icon Dispatch, it must be immediately interrupted. Whenever a Windblade fixates on a player (something that they do rarely), that player should kite it, and make sure not to get hit by it. Ideally, the Windblade should be kited in a circular manner, so that it remains in or around the other Windblades at all times. The Windblade's movement speed is very low while fixating, making it easy to run away from it.

By tanking the Windlbades next to a Reaver you will benefit from the damage bonus from Poison-Drenched Armor Icon Poison-Drenched Armor, helping you kill the Windblades very quickly. The Reavers do not need to be very close for this to work.

5.2.2. Creating Amber Traps

During this phase, players will have to create Amber Traps by merging 5 Sticky Resin Icon Sticky Resin void zones. Creating the traps is a matter of rather basic coordination. Someone will pick up the first Sticky Resin zone and take it to another one, after which time it is the role of players who are relatively free to move around to bring the other Sticky Resins to the same location. Ranged DPS players, or even healers (provided that the damage is relatively low) can perform this task.

We recommend trapping the Reavers (by kiting them over the trap), and only once all the Windblades are dead. This means that you will typically end the phase with the Reavers trapped, and all other adds dead. Given that it takes a Windblade quite some time to free a Reaver from an Amber Trap, you can afford to the trap the Reaver just as you are killing the final Windblades.

Moreover, it is perfectly safe to enter Phase One again while you have the Reavers trapped, as the add will remain trapped for as long as it takes for it to die.

6. Phase Three↑top

Phase Three begins when Grand Empress Shek'zeer reaches 30% health. At this point, the boss gains a series of new abilities (and only retains one of her old ones). It is a burn phase, that lasts until the boss is killed.

6.1. Abilities

Shek'zeer retains her Eyes of the Empress Icon Eyes of the Empress ability from Phase One.

In addition to this, she gains several new abilities.

  • Sha Energy Icon Sha Energy is a spell that Shek'zeer uses to deal a moderate amount of Shadow damage to random raid members. It affects 2 targets in 10-man, and 5 targets in 25-man.
  • Consuming Terror Icon Consuming Terror is a frontal cone attack that deals a high amount of Shadow damage and fears all affected players for 8 seconds.
  • Visions of Demise Icon Visions of Demise is a two-part debuff applied to a number of random raid members (2 in 10-man and 5 in 25-man), at regular intervals throughout the phase. Initially, it is 4-second debuff, which does nothing to the affected player, except trigger the second debuff. After 4 seconds, the player will have a new debuff applied to them and any other players within 8 yards, causing them to be feared and take a moderate amount of Shadow damage every second for 20 seconds. This second debuff can be dispelled. Shek'zeer casts Visions of Demise roughly every 15-20 seconds.
  • Calamity Icon Calamity is a spell that Grand Empress Shek'zeer casts roughly every 6-10 seconds, which deals Shadow damage to all raid members, equal to 50% of their current health.
  • Amassing Darkness Icon Amassing Darkness causes a random target to take a moderate amount of Shadow damage. The spell affects an increasing number of players, eventually dealing a large amount of raid damage. We are currently uncertain of the specifics of this mechanic, but players who have killed the boss on live reported that it only resulted in raid damage that they healed through.

6.2. Strategy

This phase is extremely brutal, and your raid's healing will be put to the test more than at any point so far in Tier 14 Normal mode encounters.

Preliminarily, your raid should remain spread out, so that Visions of Demise Icon Visions of Demise does not affect more players than necessary. Your tanks will still have to alternate tanking the boss, and Shek'zeer should be faced away from the raid at all times.

Her frontal cone attack has a cast time, making it possible to avoid it. Any players unfortunate enough to be hit by it should have their fear dispelled.

Additionally, regarding dispelling, players who are affected by Visions of Demise should be dispelled as soon as possible (once the initial 4-second debuff turns into the second, dispellable one).

The hardest part of the phase is surviving the immense raid damage that your raid will encounter. Even though Calamity Icon Calamity appears to dictate that you should have players at low health, so as to ensure that they take less damage from this ability, this is not really the case. Sha Energy Icon Sha Energy and Amassing Darkness Icon Amassing Darkness deal a lot of damage and make it extremely risky to have players at low health. Additionally, you will have to account for the damage from Visions of the Demise, for the few seconds that it has a chance to tick on each player. Therefore, it is best to try to top people off as much as possible.

In 10-man, it is possible to have your raid stack up behind Shek'zeer, in order to facilitate healing, and simply having the players affected by Visions of Demise move out of the raid immediately. This may also be possible in 25-man, but the increased number of players who must move out is problematic.

This is a standard burn phase, where you will want to use all your raid's cooldowns to stay alive and increase your DPS on the boss.

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

The best timing for Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp is Phase Three. This phase is the most intense in the encounter, and it also coincides with the execute phase for many DPS classes.

Alternatively, if you are having difficulty reaching Phase Three with a single transition to Phase Two, you can use Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp during Phase One, since there is little raid movement during this phase, allowing you to burn the boss relatively undisturbed.

8. Learning the Fight↑top

Considering that this is an encounter where you can only progress on a phase-by-phase basis, your raid will naturally learn the encounter progressively.

That said, there are a few factors which will prove harder to manage than others. Chief among them is the handling of the Dissonance Field Icon Dissonance Fields during Phase One. Your raid will have to learn to detonate one Field before another, and then to survive the damage of the detonation. It is simply a matter of practice, and of getting your healers used to the high amounts of incoming damage.

During Phase Two, you will have to maximise your DPS on the adds, so as to have everything cleaned up before the 2 minute and 30 second mark. Proper trapping of the adds will be important here, but again, this is a skill that you will have to practice to get the hang of it.

Phase Three is not so much complex as it is brutal in terms of incoming raid damage. In addition to your healers being on top of their game, and your DPS players burning Shek'zeer down efficiently, you will have to learn to master dispelling of Visions of Demise Icon Visions of Demise.

Overall, there are not many tips that we can provide for learning the encounter, and it will be up to your raid members to execute the fight accordingly.

9. Achievement: Timing is Everything↑top

The Timing is Everything Icon Timing is Everything achievement is part of the Glory of the Pandaria Raider Icon Glory of the Pandaria Raider meta achievement. The achievement requires that you kill both Kor'thik Reavers within 10 seconds of each other, and then defeat the boss.

As the name of the achievement suggests, timing is indeed everything. You will have to DPS both Reavers simultaneously, and only kill them when they are both low enough that they will die within the 10 seconds required for the achievement. Obviously, this will make the phase more strenuous for your raid, since the Reavers are very dangerous.

10. Heroic Mode↑top

The Heroic mode of the Grand Empress Shek'zeer encounter presents few changes from the Normal mode, although it is a considerably more difficult encounter overall.

10.1. Differences from Normal Mode

There are three differences from Normal mode.

Firstly, the boss and the adds have increased health and deal increased damage. This is a natural thing for all Heroic modes, so it should come as no surprise.

Secondly, during Phase One, Shek'zeer will cause one of the two Dissonance Field Icon Dissonance Fields present at any one time to become corrupted, which in turn causes the field to deal Shadow damage to random raid members until it is detonated.

Thirdly, during Phase Three, Shek'zeer casts a new ability called Heart of Fear Icon Heart of Fear. This creates an object at a random location, which targets a random raid member, shooting a beam of Shadow at them and dealing very high Shadow damage. This beam can be intercepted by other players, which causes them to take the damage instead of the initially targeted player. Heart of Fear is cast roughly every 10-15 seconds, and there is only ever one up at a given time.

10.2. Strategy

10.2.1. Phase One

During Phase One, the only change comes from dealing with the corrupted Dissonance Field Icon Dissonance Fields. Whenever a Dissonance Field is corrupted, your raid should focus on detonating it right away. This means that whoever is affected by Cry of Terror Icon Cry of Terror should go and stand in that field until it detonates.

To ensure that the player who is inside the field does not die (due to not receiving any healing while inside the field), you can cast a Hand of Protection Icon Hand of Protection on them a few seconds before the Dissonance Field detonates.

In order to make sure that the corrupted Dissonance Field is detonated as quickly as possible, you should maintain a balance between the health of the two existing fields while neither of them is corrupted. This means that you should alternate which field you send Cry of Terror players to, so that both fields lose health equally. This ensures that the corruption will never go on a full-health field.

Needless to say, you must make sure not to transition into Phase Three while you still have Dissonance Fields up, as their detonation during Phase Three will almost certainly results in deaths.

10.2.2. Phase Two

Nothing really changes in this phase from Normal mode, except for the increased health and damage of the adds. This means that you need to be more careful than ever before.

25-man raids will want to consider tanking the adds in 3 groups, instead of 2, since the damage of all 6 Windblades combined may be too much for a single tank to take.

Even 10-man raids will want to pay special attention to their tanks' survival, since the adds melee extremely hard.

10.2.3. Phase Three

The only change in strategy during Phase Three comes from the introduction of the new ability, Heart of Fear Icon Heart of Fear. As we mentioned, this targets a random raid member and deals damage to them. The damage is extremely high on its own, and coupled with the various other sources of raid damage in Phase Three, it can easily cause deaths.

The best and easiest way to handle this ability is to always have the tank that is not currently tanking Shek'zeer intercept the beam, thus soaking the damage. The damage should be rather easy for a tank to survive, and this totally trivializes the mechanic.

Since the beam follows the initially targeted player, it is important that this player remain stationary, once the tank is in position and soaking.

10.2.4. Unusual Raid Compositions

As you will have noticed from the suggested raid compositions for this fight, we suggest using up to 4 healers in 10-man and up to 9 in 25-man. This is because the raid damage in both Phase One and Phase Three is truly brutal. Using this many healers, assuming that your roster allows it, will make the initial kills considerably easier.

11. Concluding Remarks↑top

This concludes our raid guide for Grand Empress Shek'zeer. We hope you have found our guide helpful, and we remind you that we always award great consideration to your feedback, both on our forums or by e-mail.