Season 2 is underway! Learn all about Tormented
and all the other affixes in this article!
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series."Non-boss enemies have 20% more health and inflict up to 30% increased damage."What it means:
Fortified is a straightforward affix that is active every other week. It empowers the trash mobs throughout the dungeon with 20% more health, and most of them with 30% more damage, though specific difficult enemies can have this second multiplier reduced. There are a few areas where Fortified has been somewhat unpredictable - seasonal affixes, where it's been a little inconsistent but generally only interacts with small enemies associated with the affix, and boss fights, where throughout Battle for Azeroth several surprising boss mechanics scaled with Fortified rather than Tyrannical. Moving into Shadowlands, thorough testing will be needed to identify if this phenomenon is repeated.Tactics:
Fortified encourages groups to focus more on AOE damage and crowd control than Tyrannical. Many groups adjust their Bloodlust
timings during these weeks to use them on the most challenging trash pulls, though the hardest bosses in each dungeon are generally still worth saving cooldowns for.Useful Links:"Bosses have 30% more health. Bosses and their minions inflict up to 15% increased damage."What it means:
One out of every two weeks is a Tyrannical week, alternating with the Fortified ones. Instead of empowering trash mobs, this affix affects the boss encounters, adding a lot more health and a little extra damage.Tactics:
Saving cooldowns for bosses, especially the most difficult ones, is vital for success on Tyrannical weeks. If you’re venturing into a keystone of level 10 or higher, getting as many of your anima powers as possible before pulling the toughest bosses in the dungeon is a very good idea.
You may also want to adjust your setup to be more focused on single target than on Fortified weeks - just beware that you’ll still need to kill the trash quickly in order to time higher level keystones, and the extra time you’ll spend on bosses may force you to pull more trash at once in the rest of the dungeon.Useful Links:"When any non-boss enemy dies, its death cry empowers nearby allies, increasing their maximum health by 15% and damage by 20%."What it means:
Most trash mobs throughout the dungeon will apply one stack of the Bolster
buff to each other enemy that is in combat within 30 yards. This buff stacks additively, so an enemy with five stacks has twice the health and damage of an enemy with none.
Some enemies, such as specifically coded very small enemies, most enemies spawned by abilities, and bosses will not apply stacks of Bolster when they die but will still receive Bolster stacks from other dying enemies. A small number of enemies, such as seasonal affix mobs, will neither give nor receive stacks of Bolster.
When a damaged enemy gains a stack of Bolster, its current health remains the same percentage of its maximum health.Tactics:
You need to be very careful during Bolstering weeks to avoid unintentionally pulling extra enemies, or starting the next pull before all the enemies in the previous one are dead. Bolstering also dramatically reduces the feasibility of pulling trash into bosses, though it is still possible for coordinated groups.
The default strategy against this affix is damage prioritization - apply damage to each enemy proportional to its health, such that all the enemies die at the same time. This is easier said than done, especially when the health pools of the enemies in a pull are very different from one another.
Another strategy is to use crowd control to separate enemies with different amounts of health from each other. You can also make use of the 30 yard range on Bolstering to avoid stacks being applied, though this often requires a good deal of finesse.Useful Links:"When slain, non-boss enemies explode, causing all players to suffer damage over 4 sec. This effect stacks."What it means:
Whenever a monster is killed, all players will get a stack of Burst
which deals shadow damage over four seconds. The amount of damage scales with the keystone level rather than maximum health, a change from Battle for Azeroth. Also new in Shadowlands: Bursting is a Magic debuff, which means that it can be dispelled.
Immunity abilities such as Cloak of Shadows
and Ice Block
will remove all current stacks and prevent future stacks from applying.Tactics:
The most straightforward approach to Bursting is to avoid pulling too many small enemies at once to prevent an unhealable amount of stacks from being applied. This is a very powerful strategy to use in less coordinated groups, as it can be entirely managed by one player (the tank). As a healer, remember that you have a dispel that can remove all stacks of Bursting from one player!
In groups with more coordination, synchronizing the deaths of enemies to avoid too many stacks of Bursting is an effective way to make pulls safer. Five stacks of Bursting is much easier to deal with than three stacks of bursting which ticks a few times then gets extended into four stacks, which ticks a few times and then extended into five stacks.
If you want to pull an amount of enemies that would represent a lethal stack of Bursting, staggering your group's damage is the way to go - kill a few enemies, then stop damage, let the bursting fall off, and kill the remaining enemies. This can be tricky to coordinate and is much harder for damage over time based classes, but the reward is well worth it.
Finally, strategies that revolve around acquiring and then trivializing massive stacks of Bursting are popular among top groups. Tools that make this possible are massive healing cooldowns, immunities, and/or AoE dispels. By using enough of these all at once, it's possible to successfully handle a massive pull, though if things go even slightly wrong there's a very good chance that everyone will quickly die.Useful Links:"Some non-boss enemies have an inspiring presence that strengthens their allies."What it means:
Throughout the dungeon, several packs will contain an enemy with the Inspiring Presence
aura. These enemies grant crowd control and interrupt immunity to other nearby enemies, but it does not apply to the Inspiring mob itself.Tactics:
If you played during Beguiling
season, most of the tactics you used against Emissaries of the Tides will function here - the primary strategy is to crowd control the Inspiring enemy and then deal with it after its allies have been killed. Some groups don’t cast anything important enough to interrupt, so in those groups you can just ignore the buff.
Advanced strategies do exist, involving crowd controlling multiple Inspiring enemies and then dealing with them all together when their packs have been dealt with. You can also try to nuke down the Inspiring enemy before dangerous casts overwhelm you, or you can try to displace the Inspiring enemy to briefly remove the aura and interrupt the vital cast.Useful Links:"Non-boss enemies enrage at 30% health remaining, dealing 100% increased damage until defeated."What it means:
This is a straightforward affix that makes enemies deadly when they reach low health. This enrage effect will remain even if the enemy is later healed above 30% health, and if the enrage is removed it will eventually be re-applied if the enemy stays alive.Tactics:
Enrage effects can be removed by a variety of classes - Druids
, and now Rogues
have abilities that will dispel them. If your group contains one or more of these specs, you can often rely on them to handle the most deadly enemies and remove most of the pressure from the rest of your group, though your tank and healer will still need to watch out for auto attacks from low health enemies.
In particularly dangerous pulls, it can be important to focus enemies down such that they don’t all reach low health at the same time. You can also benefit by saving stuns for when enemies reach low health rather than using them near the start of the pull.Useful Links:"When slain, non-boss enemies leave behind a lingering pool of ichor that heals their allies and damages players."What it means:
Most enemies will drop Sanguine pools when they die. Some smaller enemies do not. These pools last for 20 seconds (down from 60 last expansion) and heal enemies for 5% of their maximum health per second, while damaging players for 15% of their maximum health per second as Shadow damage. Sanguine stacks up to five, so if enemies are standing in five or more Sanguine pools they’ll heal for 25% of their maximum health per second.Tactics:
Sanguine is primarily handled by the tank, who must keep enemies moving as they begin to die to avoid any healing on the remaining enemies. The other members of the group can help by using displacement effects, and by avoiding any stuns or heavy slows as enemies reach low health.
From a strategic perspective, pulling enemies and fighting them in places where you don’t mind dropping Sanguine pools is a great idea, as it can be very annoying if you drop Sanguine where you then intend to fight a boss or pull the next pack. This is less important in Shadowlands than it was in BFA, however, as the pools now only last for 20 seconds.Useful Links:"Fiends rise from the corpses of non-boss enemies and pursue random players."What it means:
Most enemies (generally the same set of enemies that drop Sanguine or apply Bolstering or Bursting) spawn Spiteful Shades when they die. These enemies have a sizable health pool, but they lose 8% of their health every second, meaning they die in 13 seconds if you don’t sink any damage into them. When one spawns, it fixates a random member of your group and chases them. If it reaches them, it’ll begin meleeing them for tremendous amounts of damage.Tactics:
This affix is very easy to handle when it fixates ranged players, as they can simply kite without too much difficulty. Melee players may instead need to lose damage in order to avoid getting killed. Some specs can pop defensives to completely negate the incoming melees, such as Die by the Sword
, but these abilities have long cooldowns and can’t be used for every shade.
Spiteful Shades can be crowd controlled, so knockback effects, slows, and stuns are very effective to hold them off until they run out of steam.Useful Links:"While in combat, enemies periodically summon Explosive Orbs that will detonate if not destroyed."What it means:
While enemies are in combat, Explosive Orbs will spawn near them that you’ll need to kill. They last for six seconds, and if they aren’t killed they’ll explode for half of everyone’s health. They have a very small health pool and can generally be killed with one ability, but the more enemies you’re fighting, the more Explosives will spawn, causing you to get quickly overwhelmed in very big pulls. Tactics:
Generally one or two players in your group will be the primary Explosive killers. These are the players who have the easiest time swapping to and deleting the orbs, typically tank players and melee dps. When more than a couple of Explosive orbs spawn at once, the rest of your group should jump in and help.
Explosive orbs can also be handled with line-of-sight - this can be especially useful when you’re pulling lots of enemies from multiple locations: have the rest of the group stay back behind a doorway, the tank runs in and grabs the enemies and returns to the group, and you don’t need to worry about Explosives that spawn spread out in that room.Useful Links:"Injured players suffer increasing damage over time until healed."What it means:
Whenever a player is below 90% health and in combat, they’ll gain stacks of the Grievous Wound
DoT, up to four stacks. When healed by certain spells they’ll lose one stack, though they’ll never fully clear the debuff except when they make it above 90% health again, when the entire debuff will go away.
Outside of combat, any Grievous Wounds will continue to do damage, but no new stacks will be applied.Tactics:
Triage is the name of the game against Grievous - healers must stay vigilant and quickly top players before Grievous becomes too much of a problem, and other members of the group can help out by healing themselves and avoiding damage while the healer is focused on someone else.
Some healers have an easier time than others against Grievous based on how their kit works and/or which spells are coded to remove stacks of the debuff (see Jeath’s tweet in the Useful Links section below). Useful Links:"All enemies' melee attacks apply a stacking blight that inflicts damage over time and reduces healing received."What it means:
Almost all enemies, bosses and trash included, will apply a stack of the Necrotic Wound
debuff on successful autoattacks. Seasonal affix mobs notably do not apply Necrotic. This debuff deals physical damage over time, but even though it’s physical damage, it is not reduced by Armor since it’s a damage over time effect.
Necrotic Wounds last for 9 seconds, and whenever a new stack is applied the duration is refreshed. Whenever you drop combat, you also lose all stacks of Necrotic Wound.Tactics:
The damage over time component of this affix is generally not lethal, but the healing reduction absolutely can be, especially as stacks get high. Tanks can kite to avoid this, and the rest of the group can help with crowd control effects. In highly coordinated groups and/or against enemies which are immune to crowd control, tactics like other players taunting can be useful, though they are dangerous.
There are a handful of abilities that remove Necrotic entirely, such as Stoneform
, and physical immunities, including Blessing of Protection
. One massive
Shadowlands-specific effect is the Kyrian Phial of Serenity
, which does remove Necrotic and makes Kyrian tanks very valuable for these weeks. Luckily, Kyrian is already a great option for most tank specs.
Against bosses, some tanks have an easier time than others, such as Brewmasters who often dodge enough attacks that they’ll naturally have a sequence of 9 seconds without getting hit in most boss encounters, which means they’ll reset their stacks. Other tanks that don’t have as much evasion will instead need to consider kiting or getting some other kind of help against particularly tough or long-lasting boss fights.Useful Links:"Periodically, all players emit a shockwave, inflicting damage and interrupting nearby allies."What it means:
Every 20 seconds, the game will randomly decide whether or not there will be a quake. If there is, all living players, regardless of combat status, will have a circle appear around them and begin to fill up. 2.5 seconds later, the Quake will hit, interrupting any casts for all players and dealing 40% maximum health to any other players in the circle.Tactics:
Quaking only does damage when you stack up for it, so try to avoid standing in anyone else’s circle to avoid that damage. There are some dungeons where this can be tricky, such as Spires of Ascension
, which features a few Val’kyr rides during which you can quake your groupmates if you started at the same time. There are also some boss encounters where you’re forced to make a difficult choice between taking damage from mechanics or from Quaking.
The damage isn’t the only threat of Quaking - the interrupt is also potentially deadly, especially if it catches your healer. The two WeakAuras listed below can help with this - one creates a bar that can predict when a quake might happen, while the other tells you when you need to cancel your cast to avoid an interrupt and a painful spell lockout.Useful Links:"While in combat, enemies periodically summon damaging whirlwinds."What it means:
Like Explosive and Volcanic, the number of tornadoes you’ll have to deal with will scale up as you’re fighting more enemies at once. Whenever an enemy spawns a tornado, your first warning will be a grey swirly, which will then turn into a grey tornado that can be tough to keep track of. It will travel outwards in a spiral, and if you get hit by one you’ll be knocked back and take damage. When a player gets hit by a tornado, it will de-spawn.Tactics:
The best defense against Storming is movement away from where tornadoes are. This will often look similar to how tanks move when Sanguine pools are dropping - continuous movement away from the areas that just became dangerous. Tornadoes spiral movement is predictable, especially for veterans of the first room in Kings’ Rest, so learning how they move can make it feasible to stay near them.Useful Links:"While in combat, enemies periodically cause gouts of flame to erupt beneath the feet of distant players."What it means:
Each enemy that’s in combat will randomly spawn volcanoes underneath players that are at range from them. These volcanoes take two seconds later, and then erupt
dealing 20% maximum health in damage and a sizeable knockup to any players hit.Tactics:
Melee players don’t need to think much about Volcanic, as they only spawn under enemies that aren’t in melee range of the enemy that’s spawning the volcano. Watch out, however, as if you’re in melee range of five enemies but there’s another far away enemy that’s in combat with you, you could have a volcano appear under you when that enemy spawns one.
Ranged players need to watch their feet and move whenever volcanoes would hit them - they don’t always spawn directly under your feet, however, so sometimes it’s safe to stay put. Because of the knockup, it’s almost never efficient to get hit, since you’ll lose more damage from the airtime than you would have from the movement.Useful Links:
Prideful (Season 1) — Level 10+ [back to top]"Players overflow with pride as they defeat non-boss enemies, eventually forming a Manifestation of Pride. Defeating this Manifestation greatly empowers players."What it means:
Prideful was the Shadowlands Season One Seasonal Affix
, which means it’s not an affix you’re likely to ever see again (though sometimes the MDI
brings back old seasonal affixes during the tournament). It was similar to Reaping
in that it triggered every time you reach a multiple of 20% on the enemy forces meter, but unlike Reaping you fought one large enemy rather than multiple smaller enemies.
That enemy was a Manifestation of Pride
, which was effectively a mini-boss and immune to crowd control. It had two abilities: Bursting With Pride
, a group-wide AoE that ramps up over the fight, and Belligerent Boast
, which marks a player and then causes them to shoot out stunning projectiles in each cardinal direction after four seconds.
When the Manifestation died, you gained Prideful
for a minute, which hugely increased your damage, healing, movement speed, and mana regeneration.
If you wiped against a Manifestation of Pride, it returned to where it spawned and reset the damage of its cast, but unlike most enemies it didn’t heal (a trend which continued with Tormented). It also did not interact with most other affixes.Tactics:
There are a few different questions you’ll need to answer with this affix. Firstly, you’ll need to decide when you want to fight Manifestations of Pride, as they spawn every 20% on the enemy forces meter. Using the MDT addon
, you can find where you’ll reach each of those breakpoints in the dungeon and make sure it’s somewhere that serves you well. A common strategy is to spawn and defeat a Manifestation before each difficult boss, so that you can then use the buff to kill them more quickly and safely.
You do need to avoid wiping to the Manifestation itself, so you may wish to use some cooldowns on it rather than try to save them for when you have the prideful buff - after all, you won’t get that buff if you can’t ever kill it! Save defensives for the later parts of the fight, as the damage of the cast ramps up, and be sure to move away from the group when you’re about to shoot out projectiles, and double check that nobody is in the line they’ll hit.Useful Links:
Tormented (Season 2) — Level 10+ [back to top]"Servants of the Jailer can be found throughout the dungeon and grant powerful boons when defeated. If a servant is not dealt with, they empower the final boss."What it means:
Four minibosses are scattered throughout each dungeon. They each have several abilities including an aura, and the final boss of the dungeon will have any auras of minibosses that are still alive. When killed, they drop an orb that offers everyone in the group an Anima Power. The powers offered are pre-set, based on the miniboss killed and the role of the player,
so you will always be offered the same four orbs with the same choices in every dungeon (changing only when you swap roles).
As has been the trend with seasonal affixes, most other affixes do not interact with Tormented. The mobs do not socially aggro things that they run through, and they do not apply most other affixes, nor scale with Tyrannical or Fortified. The notable exception here is Grievous, which will still be applied based on damage taken from Tormented enemies.Tactics:
The general theory with this affix is to head for the available minibosses as soon as possible in order to have their powers for as much of the dungeon as possible. You shouldn’t go hugely out of your way to do this, but a little bit of rethinking your pathing to secure the powers earlier is often worthwhile.
Though it is possible to skip a miniboss and fight the last boss with an aura active, that strategy is not recommended except for very advanced groups - it’s a strategy that’s less rewarding and more costly than similar examples from previous seasons, such as fighting Awakened mobs with the last boss or skipping Manifestations of Pride.
For the most part, the minibosses are straightforward. Make sure to have interrupts ready on the incinerator miniboss
, and make sure to stack on your friends during the fear cast
on the executioner miniboss
and otherwise the mechanics are pretty self explanatory.Useful Links:
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