An Inside Look: Vault of the Incarnates - Part 1
Last week on the Dragonflight Beta, raid testing for Vault of the Incarnates began! After testing several raid encounters, we gathered some information and formed our first impressions. In Part 1 of this mini-series, learn more about Eranog and Terros!
For the Vault of the Incarnates Beta raid testing schedule, click here.
Table of Contents
Eranog (“Eggnog”) is the first boss encounter of Vault of the Incarnates. Although early raid encounters typically carry a stigma of being “boring loot piñatas”, Eranog might be looking to break that cycle. The fight is well-designed, enjoyable, and not overly complicated — it brings a few simple mechanics that must be dealt with properly or it will spell disaster for a raid group.
In both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the fight, Eranog is a priority-cleave fight. This greatly favors classes like Destruction Warlock and others that bring similar damage profiles to the table.
Eranog periodically debuffs a handful of players with the Flamerift ability that will expire and leave a lava pool on the ground while also summoning a Frenzied Tarasek. These adds will fixate random players and pursue them until killed. The Frenzied Tarasek adds also gain the Rampaging Assault buff once they reach 50% health, increasing their movement speed and damage. The Flamerifts appeared to happen roughly once every 30 or so seconds, giving players and their team ample time to defeat the previous wave before additional enemies spawn. It is also important to note that the area of denial lava pool effect left behind from the Flamerift debuff does persist for the entire fight which acts as a pseudo enrage.
The boss enters Phase 2 around the 1:30 mark and summons multiple Collapsing Flame adds around the room that are linked to one another by a chain of fire. The Collapsing Flame adds will slowly walk towards the center of the room while dealing raid wide damage with their Pulsing Flames ability. The raid group needs to kill an add to break the fire chain and then walk through the gap in each chain before they are consumed by the encroaching adds. Once this phase is complete, the fight is rinse and repeat until Eranog is dead.
Pictured: Collapsing Flame
Overall, the fight felt a tad undertuned for what we would expect from a Heroic encounter, even with it being the first boss. We noticed that Eranog does seem to take full damage even when “shielded” in Phase 2 (potentially a bug), which greatly favors classes that bring strong, spread cleave damage profiles. We also noticed that we can simply Demonic Gateway over the fire chain between the Collapsing Flame adds in Phase 2 without taking any damage. Even if we aren't able to defeat one in time, walking through the chain is not out of the question with a raid CD/personal. It will stun players for 3 seconds, but it does not kill them like one would expect.
We would assume that Blizzard alters the fight for Mythic testing by making the boss take 99% reduced damage in the intermission as well as not allowing Demonic Gateway to be a viable strategy for ignoring the phase two chains. The boss and adds did feel like they had a bit less health than they should have but it could very well be that way by design with it being the first encounter in Vault of the Incarnates. We don't expect this boss to give guilds much trouble once players learn the initial mechanics due to its rinse and repeat nature…but then again, we felt the same way about Vigilant Guardian, which ended up taking a whopping 24 hours for the first guild to defeat on Mythic difficulty in the Race to World First (RWF) of
Terros is one of the earlier bosses that we encounter in Vault of the Incarnates and is the “Patchwerk” boss of the raid tier. While raids typically have 1-2 single-target bosses per tier, history has shown that these fights aren't usually the most mechanically challenging. However, Terros might be looking to change that expectation.
Although Terros is a single-target encounter, there are a handful of abilities that occur in quick succession that raid teams must overcome to defeat him. Rock Blast is a debuff that is placed on a player that brings a large soak effect that must be mitigated by having players split the damage it deals. At the same time, a handful of players will also be marked with the Awakened Earth debuff. Upon expiration, the Awakened Earth effect will spawn seismic rock pillars that inflict nature damage every 1.5 seconds until they are destroyed, and the effect stacks. During testing, it appeared that we received roughly 4 Awakened Earth debuffs every time Rock Blast was cast in a 25-man raid, which means that things will certainly spiral out of control quickly if these mechanics are not handled.
Thankfully, the Concussive Slam tank mechanic offers us a way to remove some of the pillars that spawn. Concussive Slam is very similar to the Halondrus ability Lightshatter Beam where tanks had to break the shield on motes, but for Terros, it is just rock pillars. This means that players who are debuffed with Awakened Earth should look to place them near each other (in a line if possible) to optimize every Concussive Slam.
Awakened Earth debuff (arrows above players); Rock Smash group soak (large circle)
Outside of these main abilities, the boss will periodically cast both Shattering Impact, and Resonating Annihilation at 100 energy. Shattering Impact is a ground-based effect in melee that must be dodged or it deals moderate damage and knocks players into the air. It will also cause parts of the ceiling to fall, leading to a bit of area denial for ranged players. Resonating Annihilation is a cone-wide frontal that fills roughly a quarter of the room with Resonant Aftermath. This effect does destroy all Awakened Earth in the frontal but also acts as an enrage. We either defeat Terros before the room is filled with Resonant Aftermath, or he defeats us.
Pictured: Resonating Annihilation
Overall, the fight felt relatively well tuned for an early Heroic Patchwerk encounter. Our testing group defeated him right before his third Resonating Annihilation cast, but we assume tuning for Mythic will bring with it a much higher damage requirement. In comparison to Sepulcher of the First Ones, the Terros fight feels like a hybrid of both Skolex with area of denial with a hard enrage mechanic and Halondrus with the Awakened Earth/Concussive Slam ability combo. Classes that bring raid-wide mobility like Druids with Stampeding Roar, Shaman with Wind Rush Totem, and Warlocks with Demonic Gateway will be useful for placing Awakened Earth pillars and dodging Resonating Annihilation. Classes with passive mitigation and/or short defensives will also be sought after for their ability to help soak Rock Blast debuffs, as they appear to happen roughly every 40-50 seconds.
We don't expect Terros to give guilds a significant amount of trouble early on in Heroic or lower difficulties of Vault of the Incarnates. With his placement being pretty early in the raid, one would not expect Terros’ tuning to be around Sludgefist levels of DPS requirements, but rather more like Skolex. However, with every raid difficulty of Vault of the Incarnates becoming available at the same time this tier, there is certainly potential for Terros to be a boss that takes most raid groups by surprise.
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About the Author
Kalamazi has been playing Warcraft since The Burning Crusade and is a Streamer/Content Creator for Team Liquid. He currently raids in Temerity on Hyjal and has previously cast multiple Race to World First events! You can find him live on his Twitch or check out his YouTube channel where he covers everything PvE and Warlock related.