An Inside Look: Vault of the Incarnates - Part 2



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 2 of this mini-series, learn more about Dathea, Ascended, Kurog Grimtotem, and Broodkeeper Diurna!

For the Vault of the Incarnates Beta raid testing schedule, click here.



Table of Contents






Dathea, Ascended



MECHANICS


Dathea, Ascended, one of the mid-tier to later bosses you will encounter in Vault of the Incarnates, has easily been the most exciting boss tested so far. If players are on the main platform, the fight is predominantly single-target damage with a bit of cleave once the larger add spawns. In contrast, for players that are assigned to one of the “platform” groups, the damage profile can be a mix of single target and heavy AOE.

Dathea will periodically summon Raging Tempests throughout the encounter that deal a small amount of damage, while also knocking any player in the air who comes into contact with them. She casts Crosswinds every so often, which has the Raging Tempests reposition themselves in a similar manner to King Mechagon’s Recalibrate ability. She will also cast Cyclone, which pulls players towards her for 10 seconds. While not incredibly threatening on its own, Empowered Conductive Marks will also be active on players during the Cyclone cast, which can make things a bit more tricky.


Dodging Empowered Conductive Marks with Crosswinds can be challenging


Volatile Infuser adds will spawn roughly every 1:10 interval and need to be killed in an efficient manner. When they are killed, these adds will knock the entire raid backwards via their Blowback ability. However, this ability can be used to our advantage, as it is the only way to reach the platforms behind the boss. Being able to reach these platforms is important due to the adds that spawn on them periodically, and they will bombard the raid with Storm Bolt casts. This way, having a team assigned to each Blowback cast to cross over and kill the platform adds is required, similarly to Mythic Artificer Xy'mox in Sepulcher of the First Ones.

Once all the other adds on the platform are killed, there is a Volatile Infuser add that provides a way for players to be knocked back to the main platform with its own Blowback. The only catch here is that, if the Volatile Infuser is killed too early, players risk leaving smaller adds alive after they have been knocked back to the main platform. This way, DPS timing is crucial and must be controlled accordingly.

Outside of the platform mechanics, the encounter is mostly a rinse-and-repeat until Dathea dies. However, players will continue to receive more Raging Tempests the longer the fight goes on, so the importance and difficulty of handling Cyclone and Empowered Conductive Marks increases with time.


Thunder Caller and Volatile Infuser adds spawning on an adjacent shelf




FIRST IMPRESSIONS


Overall, we felt that Dathea was easily the most fun out of the five bosses that we’ve tested on the Dragonflight beta so far. Similarly to most other bosses, it felt like Blizzard could slightly increase the amount of health each add has, but that could also be a scaling/item level issue for raid testing. Raid teams will certainly want classes like Windwalker Monk with strong, on-demand AOE burst potential to assign to the platforms, while also valuing classes that can bring strong single-target and cleave damage for the main platform. In terms of difficulty, we can easily see Dathea being a mid-tier “wall boss” due to the intricacies of the encounter and potential DPS checks that may exist, but that is yet to be seen so far. It really does feel like there is something for every class on this fight which helped make it one of the most enjoyable initial tests of a fight so far.





Kurog Grimtotem



MECHANICS


Kurog Grimtotem is one of the later bosses in Vault of the Incarnates and offers raid groups a handful of choices mechanically. The room is divided into four different quadrants which correspond to a different “element”. Players have the choice of beginning near either the Frost, Fire, Earth, or Storm Altar, and each have a different set of mechanics to overcome. While there will most likely be an optimal altar rotation that is discovered, having the element of choice makes this fight quite exciting!

Kurog begins the encounter in the center of the room and will need to be dragged to one of the four altars to avoid the stacking of Elemental Surge, which can get out of control quickly. Once Kurog is moved to an altar, he will cast Elemental Shift, binding with said altar and debuffing the raid with Primal Break, implying that he cannot be moved to another altar for 80 seconds.

Kurog will enter Phase 2 at 66% and 33% health. In Phase 2, he summons two adds based on whichever two altars he previously attuned to. Kurog will also absorb all power from slain elements in these intermission phases via his Primal Gains.

Once players finish the second (33%) intermission, the boss enters Phase 3, where Kurog will cast all abilities from Phase 1 at a faster pace. Each altar gives a stacking damage increase to Kurog called Blistering Dominance, Chilling Dominance, Shattering Dominance or Thundering Dominance respectively. These enemy buffs increase Kurog’s damage dealt by the corresponding altar by 5% per stack.

The Fire Altar will cast Magma Burst every so often at player locations which leaves pools of lava behind once the effect lands that persist for the remainder of the encounter. Kurog will also cast Molten Rupture quickly after Magma Burst, making it tough to dodge depending on Lava Pool placement and boss positioning. Searing Carnage can also be a nuisance and must be handled appropriately.


Lava Pools can cover the room quickly if not placed optimally


The Frost Altar has a dot based effect in Biting Chill that does raid wide damage while active and appears to be cast roughly every 25 seconds. Frigid Torrent erupts from Kurog himself in multiple directions and does moderate damage while also freezing any player that it comes in contact with for 6 seconds. The ability has three separate “waves” of frost projectiles that must be dodged.


Upon contact, Frigid Torrent projectiles will freeze players


The final ability that frost brings is Absolute Zero, which is a soak-based effect that must be split by multiple raid members. With a 25-man raid size, our group received two Absolute Zero effects. It also brings with it the Frost Bite debuff, which means that the effect cannot be stacked and double soaked as a raid, or you will become Frozen Solid.


Do not overlap the Absolute Zero circles or soaking players will become Frozen Solid


Although the Earth Altar has a handful of abilities, they did not appear to be as threatening as the other Altars. The Seismic Rupture ability is a ground-based effect that must be dodged by players, which then spawns Earth Breaker adds that must be killed. They deal nature damage every two seconds while also applying a stacking damage debuff to players via Skeletal Fractures.


Earth Breaker adds need to be killed quickly to avoid excessive Skeletal Fracture stacks


It is also important to dodge the Erupting Bedrock ability, which deals moderate damage and knocks back any players who are hit by it.


Move out of Erupting Bedrock to avoid moderate damage and a knockback


The Storm Altar is one of the easier Altars, but it requires a bit of coordination to avoid losing players to its mechanics. Lightning Crash will choose players and essentially forces them to stand near another player that does NOT have the effect. Doing so will cause the proximity pulsing damage portion of it to cleave a player without the 70% additional nature damage taken debuff. If two players with Lightning Crash are next to one another, it causes a lot of unnecessary damage.


Be careful to not chain Lighting Crash to players that also have the debuff. Find a partner!


Thunder Strike is similar to the Grim Portent ability from Fatescribe; however, every soak can be seen by each raid member. Missing a soak causes a moderate amount of unnecessary raid damage while also granting Kurog an additional stack of Thundering Dominance.

Shocking Blast is essentially just a debuff that you need to get out of the raid so that it does not cleave other players once it expires.


Get out of the raid quickly with Shocking Blast to avoid excess cleave damage


When Kurog reaches 33 and 66%, he enters Phase 2 where he takes 99% reduced damage and summons a pair of elemental adds. Each add has a different mechanic that corresponds to its element type and gains a stacking buff that increases over time. Once the add is defeated, those stacks are transferred to Kurog, making this phase a DPS check of sorts. The Tectonic Crusher add will periodically slam the earth with its Violent Upheaval ability while also dealing raid damage via Ground Shatter.


Tectonic Crusher abilities leave very little room to navigate the intermission


The Frozen Destroyer add brings an interruptable spell called Frost Binds that will deal damage to players while reducing their movement speed if the cast goes through. The Frozen Destroyer also casts Freezing Tempest, which deals moderate damage to raid members that are further than 10 yards from the elemental.

The Blazing Fiend elemental will periodically Lava Pools from its Magma Flow ability. On Heroic difficulty or higher, these pools now also spawn Smoldering Helion adds that will cast Flame Bolt until defeated. The Thundering Tempest add is one of the easier adds to deal with, as its only real mechanic is Storm Break. Once the tempest casts Storm Break it then unleashes a Lethal Current at the closest player which deals a small amount of damage and will chain to other players in an 8 yard radius.


Magma flow leaves Lava Pools similar to Phase 1 but now spawns Smoldering Helion adds




FIRST IMPRESSIONS


Overall, Kurog feels like it will end up being one of the more memorable bosses of this tier. Having the option to choose which Altar to begin the fight with and move to every so often brings an element of excitement to the fight. With Kurog phasing at 66% and 33% health thresholds, we will likely be able to skip certain mechanics from various altars later into re-clears of the instance. Currently, Kurog is one of our top candidates for the highest wipe count in a Race to World First (RWF) setting. If it is tuned appropriately on Mythic difficulty, and if its position in the raid is indicative of difficulty, Kurog has the potential to be a wild ride.





Broodkeeper Diurna



MECHANICS


Broodkeeper Diurna is the penultimate boss in Vault of the Incarnates. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the more interesting yet punishing bosses that players will encounter in the instance. There are multiple unhatched eggs spread around the room that grant Broodkeeper's Bond to Diurna. The effect stacks, which prevents the boss from being killed too quickly. With a 25-man raid size, there seems to be roughly 28 eggs active in the room.


Eggs are different colors representing the 4 element types found in Vault of the Incarnates


The main mechanic of the fight revolved around Diurna's Greatstaff of the Broodkeeper. The boss will periodically throw their staff into the ground and deal pulsing nature damage to anyone within a 50 yard radius for 10 seconds while also receiving the Greatstaff's Wrath buff. However, players may interact with the staff while in its proximity, which consumes one stack of Greatstaff's Wrath and causes it to send a beam of storm energy towards the player. If the beam comes in contact with an egg, it breaks, releasing a whelp and applying Clutchwatcher's Rage to the boss on Heroic and Mythic difficulties. Interacting with the staff twice removes both stacks from Diurna and causes her to pick up the weapon, thus removing the pulsing raid damage but also removing the opportunity to break eggs with the beam. We mostly had our tanks break the eggs that were in melee if possible, and some of the tankier ranged DPS classes (like Warlocks) break ranged eggs if need be. Wildfire is cast with a 25 man raid size during this phase, which requires players to spread and drop their fire debuff, since it will reignite seconds later to anyone standing in the fire circle.


Greatstaff management and breaking eggs are is crucial for reducing raid damage



The Wildfire debuff must be dropped and quickly moved out of to avoid triggering it again


Diurna periodically casts Rapid Incubation, which starts to “awaken” nearby eggs, giving the eggs a countdown that shows above them. If an egg is broken before the countdown expires via the Greatstaff's Wrath ability, it will spawn a Primal Proto-Whelp that fixates onto players until killed. However, if the raid fails to break the egg, it will spawn a Nascent Proto-Dragon, which has more health and damage output. Diurna will also summon a handful of Primalist Reinforcements in opposing parts of the room roughly every 30 seconds. Although these mobs vary per wave and have a handful of abilities, the more threatening ones are Ice Barrage from the Primalist Mages, Flame Sentry from Dragonspawn Flamebenders, and Rending Bite/Chilling Tantrum from the Juvenile Frost Proto-Dragons.


Eggs have a limited duration to when they can be broken by the Greatstaffs ability



Flame Sentries can kill players quickly if not dodged


Once all of the eggs have been destroyed, Diurna will enter Phase Two and gain Broodkeeper's Fury, which acts as a DPS check. Empowered Greatstaff of the Broodkeeper does significantly more damage and must be moved out of as quickly as possible (and the same can be said for Empowered Greatstaff's Wrath).


The Empowered Greatstaff in Phase 2 has a large cleave radius and deals a large amount of damage, further amplified by the Broodkeeper's Fury


Lastly, Diurna periodically casts Frozen Shroud, immobilizing players in attackable rime and causing their incoming healing to be absorbed. Diurna will continue to cast Wildfire from Phase 1 as well, making things even more complicated. Phase 2 quickly becomes a race against the clock, as damage continues to increase the longer the fight persists and mechanical overlaps quickly get out of hand.



FIRST IMPRESSIONS


At first glance, Broodkeeper Diurna might not seem like an overly complicated fight, as most of the mechanics seem pretty straightforward. The main problems for raid groups arise when they fall behind on Primal Reinforcement waves in Phase 1 or when they struggle to break an egg set before spawning a Nascent Proto-Dragon. Mechanics come in quick succession from Broodkeeper herself and, when paired with Flame Sentries making movement difficult, it's easier to lose players than it seems. Going into Phase 2 with even a small portion of the raid dead will most likely spell disaster due to Diurna’s stacking damage amp and not having enough damage to beat the DPS check. With Diurna being the penultimate boss in Vault of the Incarnates and having multiple DPS/HPS checks present throughout the fight, it seems that it could very well be one of (if not) the toughest bosses we may encounter before Raszageth the Storm-Eater. Let’s just hope we don't have another Stone Legion Generals on our hands...





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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.