Blade Lord Ta'yak Detailed Strategy Guide (Heroic Mode included)

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Boss Icon - Blade Lord Ta'yak
Introduction

This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Blade Lord Ta'yak 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.

Blade Lord Ta'yak is the second boss in the Heart of Fear raid instance. This encounter will check your raid's ability to stack up and spread out. Additionally, the encounter requires that your raid do a solid amount of DPS, as there are two soft-enrage mechanics at play.

1. General Information↑top

Difficulty Health Enrage Timer Raid Composition
Tanks Healers DPS
10-man 130M 8 min. 15 sec. 2 2-3 5-6
10-man Heroic 196M 8 min. 15 sec. 2 2-3 5-6
25-man 451M 8 min. 15 sec. 2 5-6 17-18
25-man Heroic 586M 8 min. 15 sec. 2 5-6 17-18
LFR 294M Unknown 2 5-6 17-18

2. Loot↑top

2.1. Armor

Item Name Armor Slot Main Stats
Twisting Wind Bracers Icon Twisting Wind Bracers (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Wrists Intellect/Hit
Boots of the Blowing Wind Icon Boots of the Blowing Wind (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Feet Intellect/Spirit
Bracers of Unseen Strikes Icon Bracers of Unseen Strikes (LFR, Heroic) Leather Wrists Agility
Kaz'tik's Stormseizer Gauntlets Icon Kaz'tik's Stormseizer Gauntlets (LFR, Heroic) Mail Hands Intellect
Bracers of Tempestuous Fury Icon Bracers of Tempestuous Fury (LFR, Heroic) Mail Wrists Intellect
Windblade Talons Icon Windblade Talons (LFR, Heroic) Plate Hands Strength/Parry
Waistplate of Overwhelming Assault Icon Waistplate of Overwhelming Assault (LFR, Heroic) Plate Waist Strength/Mastery

2.2. Weapons

Item Name Type Main Stats
Tornado-Summoning Censer Icon Tornado-Summoning Censer (LFR, Heroic) Off-hand Frill Intellect/Hit

2.3. Rings and Trinkets

Item Name Type Main Stats
Drape of Gathering Clouds Icon Drape of Gathering Clouds (LFR, Heroic) Cloak Intellect/Spirit
Choker of the Unleashed Storm Icon Choker of the Unleashed Storm (LFR, Heroic) Amulet Agility
Ring of the Bladed Tempest Icon Ring of the Bladed Tempest (LFR, Heroic) Ring Strength

3. Overview of the Fight↑top

The encounter against Blade Lord Ta'yak (henceforth referred to simply as Ta'yak) is a two-phase fight. This is purely a single target fight, during which your only enemy will be Ta'yak himself.

Phase One lasts between 100% and 20% of the boss' health. During this time, the boss will use several abilities against your raid, which mainly require that you stack up and spread out in a coordinated manner.

Phase Two begins at 20% health. During this phase, your raid will mostly have to dodge oncoming tornadoes, and deal damage to the boss. This phase places high emphasis on movement.

Throughout the fight, Ta'yak gains a stacking buff that increases his damage done, acting as a soft enrage that will eventually wipe your raid. Additionally, Phase One has a second soft enrage mechanic of its own.

4. Phase One↑top

Phase One begins when Ta'yak is engaged, and lasts until he reaches 20% health.

4.1. Abilities

During Phase One, Ta'yak makes use of the following abilities.

  • Every 20-30 seconds, Ta'yak uses Tempest Slash Icon Tempest Slash, creating a tornado at the location of a random ranged raid member. The tornadoes he creates slowly move around the area where they were created, damaging and knocking back players who come in contact with them. The tornadoes do not despawn, meaning that their number will continually increase as the phase goes on. This is one of the two soft enrage mechanics that we mentioned above.
  • Every 60 seconds, Ta'yak casts Unseen Strike Icon Unseen Strike on a random raid member. Ta'yak places a marker above the player, and disappears. 5 seconds later, he appears at the location of the player, and deals a massive amount of Physical damage in a cone in front of him. The damage is split between all enemies in the area of the cone. Affected targets are also knocked back a short distance. The cone attack is unavoidable by the targeted player, and it is more than enough to instantly kill them if it is not split among a sufficient number of players.
  • Wind Step Icon Wind Step is an ability that Ta'yak uses every 30 seconds. He blinks to the location of a random raid member, and applies a 30-second bleed on that player and any other raid members within 8 yards of them. The bleed deals a high amount of Physical damage.
  • Overwhelming Assault Icon Overwhelming Assault is an ability that Ta'yak regularly casts on his current aggro target. It deals a high amount of damage, and also debuffs the player for 45 seconds, causing them to take 100% more damage from Overwhelming Strike for this duration. This ability forces the use of two tanks.
  • Every 60 seconds, Ta'yak gains a stack of Intensify Icon Intensify, which increases his damage done and haste by 5% per stack. This is the second soft enrage mechanics.

4.2. Strategy

The strategy for Phase One is, as you can tell, relatively simple. Your raid will have to stay spread out to minimise the damage received from Wind Step Icon Wind Step, but must be prepared to stack together each time Unseen Strike Icon Unseen Strike is cast. Indeed, if the entire raid does not stack on the player who is targeted by Unseen Strike, this player will instantly be killed.

In addition to this, the tanks must alternate tanking the boss due to the debuff applied by Overwhelming Assault Icon Overwhelming Assault, and the entire raid has to avoid the tornadoes created by Tempest Slash Icon Tempest Slash.

Finally, you must keep in mind that you will have a limited amount of time to finish this phase, since the increasing number of tornadoes present will eventually lead to a wipe. Moreover, you must aim to keep the number of Intensify Icon Intensify stacks that Ta'yak gains as low as possible.

4.2.1. Positioning, Stacking, and Spreading

The greatest challenge of this phase is proper positioning from your raid. As the default position, you should be spread out loosely around the boss. This avoids having more than one player hit by Wind Step Icon Wind Step, which the boss casts with some regularity.

You must, however, make sure that players do not end up too far away from each other, since you will only have a few seconds to stack tightly together, each time Unseen Strike Icon Unseen Strike is cast.

You should designate a location for stacking for Unseen Strike, so that the raid executes the same movement each time, regardless of whether the targeted member is ranged or melee. We recommend marking a melee DPS player or a tank, and having the entire raid simply stack on them for each Unseen Strike.

Stacking for Unseen Strike is not as easy as it sounds, because it is difficult to tell from which angle Ta'yak will attack the marked player. Even though he disappears at this point (and is unattackable/untargetable), a faint outline of the boss can still barely be seen. It is important to see where the boss moves in this way, and position the raid on the opposite side of the marked player from him. This is not always possible, so your best bet remains to stack exactly in the same location, as tightly as possible.

We would also like to mention that the player who is marked for Unseen Strike will be stunned around 1-2 seconds before the boss makes his attack. This means that, in reality, this player is only able to move freely for around 3 seconds. This is important, and it has two consequences.

  • Players must watch their boss mod timers and prepare to stack a few seconds before Unseen Strike is cast. This means that everyone must make sure that they are not too far away, or that their movement-enhancing abilities (like Blink Icon Blink or Dash Icon Dash) are available.
  • If you notice that the marked player stops moving while on the way to the stacking location, you must instead move to him before the boss makes his attack.

Also keep in mind that Unseen Strike will knock all players back a short distance. There is currently a great deal of confusion and contention about whether or not it is possible to affect the direction from which Ta'yak will attack the marked player. We discuss this issue in more detail later on, in the Heroic mode section of the guide. The reason why this matters is that sometimes, players might be knocked back into tornadoes (and sometimes, knocked by one tornado into another one). These players will take extreme amounts of damage and risk dying. However, since this is much less of an issue in Normal mode, we do not delve into it deeply here. If you are in the position of being knocked into a tornado, do not hesitate to use personal survival cooldowns like Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell, Dispersion Icon Dispersion, or Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield.

It is not possible to have the player marked for Unseen Strike remain away from the other raid members and simply survive the damage by use of cooldowns. Users on our forums have confirmed that the following abilities do not work to prevent death in this case:

Dispersion Icon Dispersion works, as it is not an immunity, but just a very high damage reduction. This can be used to survive Unseen Strike in 10-man (where the damage of Unseen Strike is 3,000,000, meaning that the Priest will take about 300,000 damage through Dispersion), but it is insufficient in 25-man (where the damage is 6,000,000).

We do not yet know if Guardian Spirit Icon Guardian Spirit works, but based on the above results we assume that it does not.

As soon as Unseen Strike takes place, everyone should spread out again, in preparation for the next Wind Step.

It does not appear that Ta'yak targets melee DPS players or tanks with Wind Step, which is fortunate, since spread out is practically impossible for these players.

4.2.2. Avoiding Tornadoes

Avoiding the tornadoes that the boss creates through Tempest Slash Icon Tempest Slash is very important. Not only is getting hit a disruption of your DPS or healing, but it also deals a large amount of damage that must then be healed.

Avoiding individual tornadoes is easy, since they move rather slowly, even if their path is not always predictable. The difficulty increases as more and more tornadoes spawn, and it is further compounded as your raid needs to either spread out or stack up.

Your raid should come up with an organized way in which to manage the tornado spawning locations. This is mostly up to your ranged DPS and healers, who have to be in the same general location (while still spread out at least 8 yards apart), ideally close to the edges of the room. This will cause the tornadoes to spawn alongside the edges, and not take up central positions.

You should begin by tanking Ta'yak where he is, and having all your ranged DPS and healers move up against the walls of the alcove where the boss is located. When the area becomes too crowded, your tank can pull Ta'yak back to the alcove where the entrance to the room is, and your ranged DPS and healers can once again move close to the walls here. Once both of these alcoves are no longer usable, you should move Ta'yak to one end of the long corridor. By this point, you should be nearing the end of Phase One.

4.2.3. Sources of Damage

The bulk of the damage taken by the raid in this phase comes from the Unseen Strike Icon Unseen Strikes. While the actual damage values will vary, healers can expect a fully split Unseen Strike to cause about 50% of players' health pools in damage.

Additionally, there is bleed damage on random raid members who have been hit by Wind Step Icon Wind Step (ideally, only one such player should be bleeding at one time). These players will require additional healing.

Tank damage is moderate in general, but can spiky every time Overwhelming Assault Icon Overwhelming Assault is cast.

Finally, you must be prepared for the damage of all these abilities to increase as the phase progresses, due to Intensify Icon Intensify.

5. Phase Two↑top

Phase Two begins when Ta'yak reaches 20% health, and lasts until he is killed.

5.1. Abilities

When the phase starts, Ta'yak will teleport everyone to the middle of a long corridor present in his room. All the tornadoes from Phase One will despawn. Then, he will envelop each raid member in a tornado, which will transport them to one end of the corridor, while Ta'yak himself will move to the other end. The distance between the two ends of the corridor is so great that you will not be in range to attack Ta'yak.

Once your raid and Ta'yak are at opposite ends of the corridor, he will begin summoning tornadoes next to him. These tornadoes will then slowly begin moving towards your raid. The corridor has three lanes, and each tornado will spawn on one of the three lanes (more or less randomly).

For your raid to reach Ta'yak, you must make your way along the corridor, while avoiding being hit by any of the oncoming tornadoes. Being hit by a tornado causes it to envelop you, which will move you back to the end of the corridor, where you need to restart your journey.

At 10% health, Ta'yak will move to the other end of the corridor, and will begin summoning tornadoes from his new location.

Throughout the entire phase, Ta'yak will deal a moderate amount of Nature damage every second to all raid members. This damage is increased by the boss' Intensify Icon Intensify buff.

During this phase, he continues to stack Intensify Icon Intensify on himself, but the rate is highly increased. He gains new stack every 10 seconds.

This phase is reminiscent of the last boss encounter in the http://www.icy-veins.com/wow/siege-of-niuzao-temple-heroic-dungeon-guide heroic dungeon.

5.2. Strategy

The strategy for this phase is extremely straightforward, although its execution may prove to be problematic.

Firstly, you should aim to have the raid at reasonable health levels when the transition is about to happen, so that everyone can survive the damage that the boss deals every second during this phase, while the tornadoes are incapacitating the healers. Ideally, you should place some HoTs on players during this time.

Afterwards, as soon as you are released from the tornadoes, you must make your way along the corridor, to Ta'yak's location. Doing this will require that you constantly switch lanes, to avoid the oncoming tornadoes.

Healing the raid while making your way through through the tornadoes is very difficult, since the damage is quite high, and you do not have the possibility to stand still and heal. Everyone must contribute to healing here, using Healthstone Icon Healthstones and defensive cooldowns.

Ta'yak does not melee during this phase, so it is not necessary to wait for a tank to reach him first.

When reaching Ta'yak's end of the corridor, it is possible to move right next to him, effectively behind the spawning location of the tornadoes. This allows you to simply stand there and DPS or heal until Ta'yak flies away. You must be careful, when moving up to his platform, to walk up using a lane where a tornado has just spawned (and that you have avoided). Otherwise, if you choose a lane where a tornado is about to spawn (indicated by a swirling effect on the floor), you run the risk of being picked up by this new tornado just as you step up next to Ta'yak. Sometimes, due to latency, it will even appear that you are being pulled off Ta'yak's platform by the new tornado.

When Ta'yak reaches 10% health, you will have to make your way along the corridor again, to his new location. A useful tip that you can make use of here is to leave Ta'yak slightly before he reaches 10% health (while making sure that all DoTs are ticking on him), and move onto the sides of the corridor. There is an air current running along these sides, the purpose of which is to prevent you from going outside the corridor to avoid the tornadoes. The air current acts exactly like the tornadoes, taking you back to the location from where you started. If you step into the air current while Ta'yak is still in his first location, you will be taken back to the start, which is precisely where Ta'yak will transition to. By doing so, you effectively bypass the need to make your way along the corridor normally. This can help you gain valuable time and beat his enrage timer, but it is far from required to defeat the boss.

Players who fail to avoid the tornadoes will, as we mentioned before, be swept up by them and taken back towards the end of the corridor from where they started. Players who are in this situation will have to restart their trip to the boss, as soon as they are released.

These players will continue to take damage from Ta'yak, and they may be out of the range of healers, so there is a risk of dying.

Finally, we would like to clarify that while inside tornadoes (both at the start of the phase, and later on, should you be caught by one), you cannot cast any spells or abilities. Death Knights are able to switch presences at this point, so other similar abilities may be available to some classes.

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

We recommend using Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp during Phase One, immediately after your raid spreads out after an Unseen Strike Icon Unseen Strike.

There are several reasons for this. First of all, using it during Phase Two is highly inefficient due to high-movement nature of that phase. Secondly, using it during Phase One allows you to minimise the amount of Intensify Icon Intensify stacks that Ta'yak gains in this phase. Thirdly, it allows you to get through Phase One faster, which is beneficial since this is the more complex and difficult phase.

7. Learning the Fight↑top

The encounter against Blade Lord Ta'yak will require a fair amount of practice from your raid.

In Phase One, your raid will have to master stacking and spreading for Unseen Strike Icon Unseen Strike and Wind Step Icon Wind Step, respectively. In addition to this, it may take a bit of practice to ensure that players are able to properly avoid the increasing number of tornadoes. Improving your DPS in this phase will significantly lessen its difficulty.

Phase Two requires a bit of trial and error for everyone in the raid to become accustomed to avoiding the tornadoes, something for which there is no other easy way to gain practice.

8. Heroic Mode↑top

The Heroic mode of the Blade Lord Ta'yak encounter is the most accessible Heroic mode in the Heart of Fear, and it is also the first one you should attempt.

The fight is almost identical to its Normal mode counterpart.

8.1. Differences from Normal Mode

Blade Lord Ta'yak has more health, and all his abilities do more damage, when compared to Normal mode.

Ta'yak's only new ability is called Whirlwind Icon Blade Tempest. It is only present during Phase One. Roughly every 60 seconds, Ta'yak will pull the entire raid to his location, and, a few seconds later, he will begin spinning for about 7 seconds, dealing a massive amount of Physical damage every 0.50 seconds, to any players in a 7-yard area around him. While Ta'yak is spinning, players are being slowly pulled back towards Ta'yak, and must run away from him to avoid being hit by the boss.

8.2. Strategy

The strategy for defeating Ta'yak does not change from Normal mode. Everything is exactly the same, with the only exception that all your raid members will have to run away from Ta'yak whenever they are pulled to his location for Whirlwind Icon Blade Tempest.

Since Ta'yak's abilities deal considerably more damage than in Normal mode, your raid's execution will have to be flawless. While this applies to all aspects of the fight, it is of particular importance when it comes to Unseen Strike Icon Unseen Strike.

Considering that Unseen Strike, the bleed from Wind Step Icon Wind Step, and the tornadoes from Tempest Slash Icon Tempest Slash all deal greatly increased damage, any player who is knocked by Unseen Strike into a tornado will be in great danger of dying. This issue is compounded when players are also affected by the Wind Step bleed. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that Ta'yak never knocks players back in the direction of one or more tornadoes.

As we mentioned much earlier in the guide, there is a lot of confusion about where exactly Ta'yak will strike his target from. There are several theories, and we will present them all here.

The most popular idea is that Ta'yak always attacks his target from the back. More specifically, Ta'yak will attack the targeted player in the direction that this player was facing 1-2 seconds before the boss attacks. This moment appears to coincide with the moment when players are stunned, about 1-2 seconds before the boss attacks. In this case, it is best to have everyone stacked up in a cone in front of the marked player (since the marked player is located at the most narrow point of the cone, and anyone behind him will not actually soak the damage), and to have the marked player facing an area in which there are no tornadoes (such as a wall).

Another popular theory is that Ta'yak will attack in the direction of the marked player, relative to Ta'yak, at the moment when the boss disappears for Unseen Strike. In other words, Ta'yak targets player X for Unseen Strike, who is located to the west of Ta'yak's location. In this case, the boss will attack this player from the east.

Another, less supported claim, is that Ta'yak will attack his target from the front. This is the opposite of the first theory we presented.

Finally, there are some that continue to claim that Ta'yak randomly chooses a direction to attack his marked player from.

Despite having done ample research into the matter, and having experienced the Unseen Strikes on live servers (in both Normal and Heroic mode), we have not been able to come to a decisive conclusion. We recommend that you experiment and try to find out what the truth is.

Finally, as a tip, we would like to point out that, if you are nearing the end of Phase One, and you generally have trouble surviving Unseen Strikes, you can sacrifice the player marked for the final Unseen Strike. You should only do this if you have a means of resurrecting them (or if they are a Shaman and can use their ankh).

9. Achievement: Candle in the Wind↑top

The Candle in the Wind Icon Candle in the Wind achievement is part of the Glory of the Pandaria Raider Icon Glory of the Pandaria Raider meta achievement. The achievement requires that you kill Ta'yak after having performed a specific task in the last part of the fight, which allows you light four braziers located around the room.

The four braziers are located at the ends of the long corridor that you traverses the room, two at each end. They are not lit by default. In the center of the room, there are four other braziers (next to the large pillars, forming a square), which are lit throughout the fight. When Phase Two begins, these latter four braziers can be clicked, and doing so grants players a buff for 30 seconds. This buff allows players to light the braziers at the end of the corridor, by clicking them.

When Phase Two starts, while passing through the corridor to get to the boss, you should right click the lit braziers and get the buff. Then, when you reach Ta'yak at the end of the corridor, simply light the two braziers found here. When switching to the other side of the corridor (when Ta'yak reaches 10% health), pick up the buff again, and light the other two Braziers.

10. Concluding Remarks↑top

This concludes our raid guide for Blade Lord Ta'yak. 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.