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Raider.IO Riddle Solution: Plaguefall



With excitement brewing for the launch of Patch 9.2 tomorrow, this week’s Raider.IO Riddle featured a Shadowlands dungeon: Plaguefall!



Want to know the solution to one of our trickiest riddles to date? Read on for a full breakdown of our puzzle and to learn more about this dungeon!



Background



Many players have a love-hate relationship with Plaguefall. Throughout the history of Mythic+, people have favored keystones that allow for a wider breadth of freedom and innovation. With the slew of linearly-designed dungeons offered in Shadowlands, Plaguefall seemed to be one of the instances that would satiate our desire for creativity.

However, Plaguefall quickly became the pinnacle of Shadowlands gimmicks thanks to the Rigged Plagueborer shenanigans. Soon, nearly every strategy in Plaguefall revolved around using Rigged Plagueborers to blow up just about everything in the dungeon with their Plague Bomb explosion. If there was a mob that could be killed with a Plagueborer, you could bet that players would choose violence at least 9 times out of 10. According to Wowhead, Plagueborers were used to bomb Globgrog, all the trash between Globgrog and Doctor Ickus, and they were even “snapped” to packs throughout the instance due to a bug with a Hunter’s Misdirection. Read more about the Misdirection bug here.

The first fix to the Plagueborers was when Blizzard changed all stationary Plagueborers from Rigged to Wretched in Patch 9.1. With this fix, the Wretched Plagueborers no longer casted Plague Bomb upon death, so this seemed to help a bit. Then, Blizzard limited the number of available Rigged Plagueborer spawns from the Virulax Blightweaver gauntlet to a maximum of 8, and nerfed the damage of their Plague Bomb explosion. Problem solved, right?

Not quite. In the MDI Great Push Tournament of Season 1, Plagueborers were still capable of being snapped with the Hunter Misdirection bug. This issue came to a head when Echo utilized this bug and won the tournament.



The community’s reaction was marked by a flurry of controversy. Some people felt that this was an exploit, whereas others thought it was a creative use of game mechanics like the Sighted Artillery in BFA’s Siege of Boralus. Nearly every competitive Mythic+ team knew about this bug, but most teams exercised caution during the tournament and avoided it just in case the bug could get them disqualified. This way, some of the competing teams felt a mixture of regret and a little resentment. For an in-depth analysis about the Great Push Plagueborer controversy and additional context on how Blizzard has handled similar situations in the past, check out Limit Maximum’s video here.

Are you curious what the Hunter Misdirection bug looked like in action? Check out the video below!





In current day, the highest timed Plaguefall keys show that utilizing the limited number of Plagueborer spawns during the gauntlet can still be rewarding. While some players may find such a mechanic tedious, Plaguefall is the 4th most commonly-run dungeon at all key levels in Season 2.



We suspect that part of Plaguefall’s decent popularity is attributed to two very useful items in its loot table: Phial of Putrefaction and Poxstorm, Longsword of Pestilence. Phial of Putrefaction is an especially good trinket for melee DPS players and tanks looking to deal a bit more damage, but Poxstorm is usually what many players seek to obtain from Plaguefall. This one-handed agility weapon is considered to be the best available from Mythic+ (and the Great Vault) due to its Bubbling Pox effect. For agility DPS players, Poxstorm is a strong off-hand weapon to accompany a hard stat stick in the main-hand slot such as Bloodspiller from De Other Side. For Brewmaster Monks in particular, it is even favorable to dual-wield Poxstorms if the RNG Gods are generous. Poxstorm has only a 2% drop rate, so don’t be surprised if you list up a Plaguefall key in Group Finder only to be swarmed by signups from Monks, Rogues, or Demon Hunters. They are probably hungry for that sick loot.



The Breakdown



With rituals hidden in stories mistold, what will erupt when the lies all unfold? Deep in a fortress with much to contain, betrayal and peril are all that remain.



A wasteland of rubble and ruin, Plaguefall is strewn with perilous alchemical experiments, and virulent mutations. Deep within the grounds is the fallen House of Plagues, home to the best crafters of toxins and potions that Maldraxxus has to offer.

Maldraxxus is ruled by five houses: the House of Plagues, the House of Eyes, the House of the Constructs, the House of the Chosen, and the House of Rituals. Tragically, the House of Plagues was almost completely obliterated by an explosion many believed to be a terrible accident. But…was it?

In this week’s riddle, we allude to the mysterious cause of the explosion at the House of Plagues being a cunning act of betrayal on behalf of the House of Rituals. While most people chalked it up to an accident (stories mistold), the House of Eyes, (which was also nearly destroyed in the explosion), believed that this was the true start of the civil war that tore apart the five Houses of Maldraxxus. Unfolding treachery often leads to massive conflict.

Before the fall of the House of Plagues, Plague Deviser Marileth and Margrave Stradama suspected betrayal brewing from the House of Rituals. In the midst of a widespread anima drought, the House of Plagues was struggling, so the House of Rituals offered to provide them some anima. The House of Plagues was in dire straits, so they accepted the offer despite feeling suspicious and a little uneasy about the House of Rituals’ intentions. The House of Rituals provided anima to the House of Plagues and sent a necromancer named Korrim the Cunning to aid in their most volatile scientific experiments.

Like his nickname suggests, Korrim the Cunning was certainly a shady dude. Shortly before the explosion that nearly demolished the House of Plagues, Marileth happened to spot Korrim lurking around some of the house’s most dangerous experiments. Was this a coincidence? Unfortunately, no.

Suspecting duplicity from the House of Rituals with Korrim’s presence in the House of Plagues, Marileth quickly began working on a new potion that would protect his dear Margrave Stradama from a terrible fate; but to his dismay, the explosion occurred before he was able to finish the potion. Through an exposure to twelve different poxes, Margrave Stradama went completely insane and transformed into the monstrosity we face as the final boss of the dungeon.

The grief of losing his beloved Margrave was too much for Marileth. He devolved into madness and worked furiously to complete the potion in hopes that it would cure her. With the help of the Maw Walker, Marileth eventually managed to complete the potion. Even though the potion did not end up curing Stradama like he had hoped, Stradama and Marileth were able to share a short moment of clarity together. The Margrave explained her fate to Marileth and told him to please endure in her memory. As a result, the Rune of Insight was then awakened on the Blade of the Primus. This weapon went on to play a critical role in the Maldraxxus storyline in Shadowlands, as this runeblade was the key to the Primus’ sanctuary, the Seat of Primus.

In our riddle, we threw in the word rituals for two reasons. Firstly, the House of Rituals is integral to the lore of Plaguefall. Their well-concealed, duplicitous plan (lies) was the most likely cause of the explosion that nearly destroyed the House of Plagues and the House of Eyes. Secondly, we thought that the word rituals might serve as a distraction by pointing towards the Underrot.

Thematically, Plaguefall and Underrot do share some distinct similarities. Back in BFA, the deep dark of the Underrot was home to an array of fetid creepy crawlies and virulent mobs such as the Diseased Lashers. In terms of rituals, Elder Leaxa performed ritualistic blood sacrifices like the good little G’huun worshiper that she was. Also, how can we ever forget the nuisance of handling the Underrot Ticks erupting when they died…especially on Bursting weeks?

With so many keywords shared between Plaguefall and the Underrot, how should you approach such a riddle? The answer to this puzzle unravels once you connect the keywords to the lore of Plaguefall and Maldraxxus. Although the House of Plagues and the House of Eyes were badly hurt in the horrific eruption, they have remained as strongholds whose survivors continue to rebuild and hold onto their legacies. Plaguefall is a fortress of incredible experiments and intel that refuse to perish in the face of betrayal.

Lastly, the word contain refers to the way that any dangerous scientific experiments must be controlled and kept out of the wrong hands. However, this is of increased importance in Plaguefall due to the Blade of the Primus resting deep under the House of Plagues where the ill-fated Margrave Stradama remains trapped in her monstrous form.



Were you tricked by the red background of our riddle on social media? It would be wise to note that we won’t always give clues to the answer in the color palette of our graphics, but we did use red intentionally in this case. While the color red holds a variety of associations for each culture around the world, we chose it to symbolize the feeling of betrayal and blood spilled in the wake of war. Furthermore, red is a significant color in Plaguefall…everyone loves bringing a Necrolord to this dungeon to grant the party a hefty haste buff with their Fleshcraft!

Don’t forget to tune in next week on our Twitter to crack another Raider.IO Riddle!

Congratulations go out to the only winner, @tyvaros, for cleverly cracking our code!



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About the Author


VitaminP (VP) is the Lead Editor & Assistant Producer of Raider.IO and has worked for the organization since the formation of the News Section in November 2018. Although VP is currently focused on pursuing her Masters of Business Administration, she specializes in tanking classes and has loved doing competitive Mythic+ on and off since early Legion.