Tortos Detailed Strategy Guide (Heroic Mode included)

Last updated on May 10, 2013 at 16:32 by Vlad 37 comments

Table of Contents

Boss Icon - Tortos


This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with Tortos in Throne of Thunder. It is targeted at anyone who desires to understand the fight mechanics.

This guide is updated for World of Warcraft WoD 6.1.2.

Tortos is the fourth boss of the Throne of Thunder. This is a very simple encounter as far as the mechanics are concerned, but in terms of difficulty, it can present quite a challenge.

The fight will require several raid members to be able to perform some specific tasks, while the rest of the raid will mostly have to avoid falling rocks and perform their roles competently.


General Information


Health Values

Difficulty Tortos Whirl Turtle Vampiric Cave Bat
10-man 179M 3.2M 1.8M
10-man Heroic 319M 5.6M 3.2M
25-man 599M 10.5M 6M
25-man Heroic 1,000M 17.5M 10M
LFR ???M ???M ???M

Enrage Timer

It seems that there is a soft enrage timer of 8 minutes to this fight. At this time, many Whirl Turtles pour out into the room, overwhelming your raid and causing you to wipe shortly thereafter.


Raid Composition

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




Item Name Armor Slot Main Stats
Stonegaze Hood Icon Stonegaze Hood (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Head Intellect/Spirit
Azure Shell Bracers Icon Azure Shell Bracers (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Wrists Intellect
Crystal-Claw Gloves Icon Crystal-Claw Gloves (LFR, Heroic) Cloth Hands Intellect
Robes of Concussive Shocks Icon Robes of Concussive Shocks (LFR, Heroic) Leather Chest Intellect
Vampire Bat-Hide Bracers Icon Vampire Bat-Hide Bracers (LFR, Heroic) Leather Wrists Intellect
Rockfall Ribwraps Icon Rockfall Ribwraps (LFR, Heroic) Leather Chest Agility
Grips of Vampiric Cruelty Icon Grips of Vampiric Cruelty (LFR, Heroic) Leather Hands Agility
Spaulders of Quaking Fear Icon Spaulders of Quaking Fear (LFR, Heroic) Mail Shoulders Intellect
Beady-Eye Bracers Icon Beady-Eye Bracers (LFR, Heroic) Mail Wrists Agility
Quakestompers Icon Quakestompers (LFR, Heroic) Mail Feet Agility
Tortos' Shellseizers Icon Tortos' Shellseizers (LFR, Heroic) Plate Hands Intellect
Refreshing Abalone Girdle Icon Refreshing Abalone Girdle (LFR, Heroic) Plate Waist Intellect
Shoulderguards of Centripetal Destruction Icon Shoulderguards of Centripetal Destruction (LFR, Heroic) Plate Shoulders Strength
Shell-Coated Wristplates Icon Shell-Coated Wristplates (LFR, Heroic) Plate Wrists Strength/Dodge


Item Name Type Main Stats
Tortos' Discarded Shell Icon Tortos' Discarded Shell (LFR, Heroic) Shield Intellect/Spirit
Shattered Tortoiseshell Longbow Icon Shattered Tortoiseshell Longbow (LFR, Heroic) Bow Agility
Shellsplitter Greataxe Icon Shellsplitter Greataxe (LFR, Heroic) 1H Axe Strength

Cloaks, Rings, and Trinkets

Item Name Type Main Stats
Amulet of the Primal Turtle Icon Amulet of the Primal Turtle (LFR, Heroic) Amulet Strength
Shimmershell Cape Icon Shimmershell Cape (LFR, Heroic) Cloak Intellect
Beakbreaker Greatcloak Icon Beakbreaker Greatcloak (LFR, Heroic) Cloak Strength/Dodge

DPS Requirements

We currently have no information about the enrage timer. We will update this section when we know more.


Overview of the Fight

The fight against Tortos is a single-phase encounter during which you must defeat Tortos himself, who is stationary for the whole fight, as well as two types of adds that he regularly spawns.

The main mechanic of the fight is that when one type of adds reach low health, they can be kicked by raid members through use of an extra action button. Kicking an add at Tortos interrupts his current spellcast, and this is an essential part of the fight, since Tortos regularly casts an ability that deals immense damage and which must be stopped. DPSing these adds until they are kickable is a top priority.

We have released a video guide for the fight against Tortos. We strongly recommend watching the video in order to get a better visual idea of the fight.


Class-specific Advice

On our forums, we are maintaining threads with class-specific advice for each of the fights of Throne of Thunder. So, make sure to check them out, and if you have things to share, do not hesitate to contribute!





Before we list the abilities of Tortos, we wish to remind you that Tortos is stationary. If there is no one in his melee range, then he casts Growing Fury Icon Growing Fury, which basically reduces the time until his next cast of a very damaging spell. Therefore, the tank who is tanking Tortos must be careful to never leave melee range.

Aside from this, Tortos has several other abilities.

  • Furious Stone Breath Icon Furious Stone Breath is an ability that Tortos casts every 45 seconds, which deals massive raid-wide damage. This ability has a cast time and it must be interrupted by kicking a Whirl Turtle add at the boss (something that we explain in detail below). The time until the next cast of Furious Stone Breath is indicated by Tortos' Fury bar, which increases over time. When Tortos reaches 100 Fury, he casts this ability. We remind you that if no one is within Tortos' melee range, he gains 10 Fury (presumably per second), which causes the next Furious Stone Breath to be cast sooner.
  • Rockfall Icon Rockfall is an ability that Tortos uses regularly throughout the fight. It causes stalactites to fall from the roof of the cave, dealing high damage to anyone within 5 yards of the impact location, and lower damage to anyone within 20 yards. The impact locations are clearly marked several seconds in advance, by means of blue circles.
  • Quake Stomp Icon Quake Stomp is an ability that Tortos casts regularly. It stuns all players for 1 second, and deals 65% of their maximum health as Physical damage. When Quake Stomp is cast, the stalactites caused by Rockfall increase in frequency for 8 seconds.
  • Snapping Bite Icon Snapping Bite is a highly damaging ability that Tortos uses against his current target roughly every 8-10 seconds. It deals a large amount of Physical damage.

Whirl Turtles

Every 60 seconds, Tortos summons 3 adds called Whirl Turtles. These adds cannot be tanked, and instead they move around the room randomly. They constantly deal damage to players within 5 yards of them through a spell called Spinning Shell Icon Spinning Shell, also knocking these players back. This is not a big issue, though, since they can be attacked by melee players from farther away than 5 yards due to their large hitboxes.

When a Whirl Turtle is close to dying, it casts Shell Block Icon Shell Block. It becomes immune to damage and it stops moving. When in this state it ceases to cast Spinning Shell Icon Spinning Shell as well, so it becomes harmless.

Very importantly, however, when a turtle is in the Shell Block state, it can be kicked. All raid members have an extra action button during this fight, called Kick Shell Icon Kick Shell. This ability is only available when the player is close to a Shell Blocking turtle. Using the extra action button kicks the turtle in the direction that the player is facing. So, for example, in order for the player to kick the turtle at location X, they must face location X while having the turtle in front of them.

Using Kick Shell causes the turtle to fly through the air. When it comes into contact with an enemy, the turtle interrupts their spell cast and debuffs them with Shell Concussion Icon Shell Concussion for 20 seconds, causing them to take 25% increased damage.

Kicking turtles in this way is essential for interrupting Tortos' Furious Stone Breath Icon Furious Stone Breath.


Vampiric Cave Bats

A group of Vampiric Cave Bats enters the room every 30 seconds. These bats have normal aggro tables, and their only ability aside from meleeing the tank is Drain the Weak Icon Drain the Weak. This deals a small amount of damage, and heals each bat for 50 times the damage it has dealt with this ability, in the event that the target they are attacking has less than 350,000 health.



The strategy for defeating Tortos is not complicated. We will summarise it first, before going into additional details.

  • Have one tank always tanking Tortos. They must make sure that they have enough health to survive Tortos' regular casts of Snapping Bite Icon Snapping Bite, through use of cooldowns and help from healers. Have the other tank always ready to pick up and tank the Vampiric Cave Bats as they enter the room.
  • Your ranged DPS players should always kill any Whirl Turtles that are up, and when no Whirl Turtles are still up, they should DPS Tortos.
  • The Vampiric Cave Bats should be tanked close to Tortos, and melee DPS players should focus on Tortos while cleaving the Vampiric Cave Bats.
  • Make sure that you interrupt every one of Tortos' Furious Stone Breath Icon Furious Stone Breath casts by having a player kick a Whirl Turtle at the boss.
  • Make sure everyone avoids the falling stalactites caused by Rockfall Icon Rockfall.
  • Be prepared to heal the high raid damage from Quake Stomp Icon Quake Stomp.

Tanking Concerns

The tank that is tanking Tortos should alway be in melee range of him. Keep in mind that the boss is stationary, so if you move out of his melee range, he will melee the next highest threat target in his range. If there is no one in his melee range, he will cast the next Furious Stone Breath Icon Furious Stone Breath sooner, which is detrimental.

The Tortos tank must be prepared for the Snapping Bite Icon Snapping Bites that Tortos regularly casts. There is a visible cast time to this ability, and given their predictable behaviour, boss mods alert you of them. Tanks should try to time their active mitigation in such a way that they always have something up for each Snapping Bite. Failing that, they should at least be topped off, since Snapping Bite will generally do about 60% of the tank's health in one hit.

The Vampiric Cave Bat tank should pick up the bats when they enter the room, and then move them close to Tortos, so that melee DPS players can cleave them. The Vampiric Cave Bats are not particularly damaging, but it is important this tank make sure to never drop below 350,000 health, as otherwise this allows the bats to heal themselves through Drain the Weak Icon Drain the Weak.


Kicking Turtles and Interrupting Tortos

Given that 3 Whirl Turtles spawn every minute, and one Furious Stone Breath Icon Furious Stone Breath is cast every 45 seconds, you should never run out of Turtles to interrupt these casts.

One player should be assigned to always interrupt Furious Stone Breath. This player should ideally be a ranged DPS player or a healer, and they should move into position a few seconds before Furious Stone Breath is about to be cast. When we say into position, we mean that they should put a Whirl Turtle (one that is casting Shell Block Icon Shell Block, so, not an active one) between their character and the boss. Then, while aiming their character at the boss, they should use the Kick Shell Icon Kick Shell extra action button when the boss begins the cast of Furious Stone Breath. We advise also selecting a back-up for this task, who should go to a different turtle and be prepared to kick it just in case. This might be needed if an active Whirl Turtle moves next to the assigned interrupter and knocks them back.


DPS Priority

As we mentioned above, ranged DPS should be primarily on Whirl Turtles, and melee DPS should be primarily on Tortos and the Vampiric Cave Bats.

It is imperative that there is always at least one Whirl Turtle made available for kicking (essentially killed) before each Furious Stone Breath Icon Furious Stone Breath. This is particularly relevant for the very first Furious Stone Breath, because the first set of Whirl Turtles only come out a short while before this breath. This means that there is little time to bring one of the turtles, and melee DPS players should help on this one too.

Additionally, DPSing the Whirl Turtles as soon as they spawn also reduces the amount of time that they will spend damaging and knocking around raid members.

The second priority is to kill the Vampiric Cave Bats. Even though they do not do much, if your tank has to handle more than one wave at a time, they will probably drop below 350,000 health, so you need to avoid this.

Finally, you should DPS Tortos himself. Remember that for 20 seconds after each time a turtle is kicked at him, Tortos will take 25% increased damage due to the Shell Concussion Icon Shell Concussion debuff. So, you will want to time your offensive cooldowns to be active during this time.


When to Use Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp

We recommend using Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp when Tortos is under the effect of Shell Concussion Icon Shell Concussion, since this causes him to take increased damage.


Learning the Fight

The first thing all raid members must learn is the proper DPS priority. Once this is mastered, the adds should be kept under control, which will make the fight significantly easier to handle.

Secondly, but also very importantly, one or more players will have to learn to kick turtles at Tortos to interrupt Furious Stone Breath Icon Furious Stone Breath.

Finally, everyone must become accustomed to move out of the circles that indicate a stalactite will fall at that location, since their damage is high and failing to avoid them will undoubtedly cause deaths.


Heroic Mode

The Heroic mode of the Tortos encounter is a very simple and straightforward fight (although this statement does not speak to its difficulty). The fight presents only two important changes from Normal mode, and the strategy, as we will see, remains largely unchanged.


Differences From Normal Mode

In addition to the increased health and damage done of all mobs in the fight, there are two relevant changes in mechanics.

  • Quake Stomp Icon Quake Stomp now deals 100% of players' maximum health as Physical damage, up from 65% in Normal mode.
  • Several Humming Crystals are located around the room. When a player deals damage with a direct spell to a Humming Crystal, that player gains a buff that absorbs incoming damage up to 15% of the player's maximum health. The size of the shield's absorption is increased by any heals that the player receives while the shield is active (these heals, instead of healing the player, merely increase the size of the shield for the same amount). Through heals, the size of the shield can be increased up to a maximum of 75% of the player's maximum health. A few mentions about the crystals and the shields are in order.
    • There is no internal cooldown on the gaining the shields, nor is there any other kind of limit. All players in the raid can be shielded at the same time, and they can re-acquire their shields as often as they like.
    • When a shield is applied to a player, it becomes impossible to heal that player until the shield is broken by damage. So, a player who is at 20% health when they gain a shield will remain at 20% (even if they have a shield at maximum capacity).
    • The Humming Crystals do take damage, although they have enough health that they are not in danger of being accidentally killed (if they can even be killed).


The strategy for the fight remains identical to Normal mode, with one exception. Since the damage of Quake Stomp Icon Quake Stomp is so high in Heroic mode (it will basically kill anyone who is not topped off), players will need to make use of the shields granted by the Humming Crystals.

In principle, everyone in the raid should always have a shield from a crystal active, and healers should make sure to heal players who have shields until these shields reach their maximum capacity (75% of the players' maximum health). It is especially important that everyone has strong shields when Quake Stomp Icon Quake Stomp is about to be cast, since this ability is by far the most damaging and deadly one.

Tanks, especially the Vampiric Cave Bat tank, must always have shields up.

Raid members should not attack the Humming Crystals when their own health is very low, since this will cause them to become unhealable until their shield is broken. So, a low-health player should wait to be topped off before taking a shield.

Aside from Quake Stomp Icon Quake Stomp, the only other way that non-tanks will lose shields is being hit by Rockfall Icon Rockfall. Note that players take damage not only inside the areas marked by the circles (although the damage taken there is much higher), but also around those areas. In any case, as long as players are doing their best to avoid Rockfall, and as long as healers are healing players who are shielded, the damage from Quake Stomp should become negligible.

Lastly, some raids may opt to kite the Vampiric Cave Bats instead of tanking and killing them, due to the fact that the fight presents a rather strict DPS requirement. We do not advise you to kite them, if you have the DPS to kill Tortos, but if you do choose to kite them, then having them tanked by a Monk (because of their mobility) and stunned regularly appears to be ideal.


Concluding Remarks

This concludes our raid guide for Tortos. We hope you have found it helpful. Please do not hesitate to post any feedback you may have on our forums.



  • 10 May 2013: Added Heroic mode.
  • 24 Mar. 2013: Added mention that Snapping Bite Icon Snapping Bite has a cast time.
  • 17 Mar. 2013: Added mention of 8-minute soft enrage timer; clarified several aspects regarding how to assign ranged and melee DPS players; added that the Vampiric Cave Bats should be tanked close to Tortos to allow for cleaving.
  • 15 Mar. 2013: Replaced our PTR preview with our video guide.
  • 13 Mar. 2013: Added link to forum threads that contain class-specific advice for the encounter.
  • 09 Mar. 2013: Removed mention of possibly being able to interrupt Quake Stomp Icon Quake Stomp by kicking turtles.
  • 07 Mar. 2013: Adjusted health values in 10 and 25-man, based on live server findings.
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