An Inside Look: Vault of the Incarnates - Part 3
Last week on the Dragonflight Beta, raid testing for Vault of the Incarnates continued! After testing several raid encounters, we gathered some information and formed our first impressions. In Part 3 of this mini-series, learn more about Sennarth and The Primal Council!
For the Vault of the Incarnates Beta raid testing schedule, click here.
Table of Contents
Sennarth, the Cold Breath
Sennarth, the Cold Breath is one of the earlier raid bosses that we will encounter in Vault of the Incarnates, and it is a polarizing one. While some players may not enjoy the boss’s “gimmicky” nature, it still felt enjoyable and not overly complicated in early raid testing.
Sennarth is a priority cleave based fight in both Phase 1 and Phase 2, which greatly favors classes such as Devastation Evoker, Beast Mastery Hunter, and other classes that can move while attacking. The boss will remain suspended in the middle of the room for the first 5 or so minutes of the encounter but is attackable and takes full damage.
Sennarth remains suspended but attackable in Phase 1
Over the course of the encounter, the boss ascends to higher parts of the room, forcing players to follow her while dealing with some disruptive mechanics. She casts Breath of Ice which leaves patches of Icy Ground behind that deal minor damage but cause players to slide if touched. Chilling Blast is periodically cast upon the raid, dealing a small amount of dot damage over 4 seconds but also causing a Frost Expulsion whenever the debuff expires or is removed.
Dodge the Icy Ground left from Breath of Ice to avoid sliding
The main mechanics of the fight revolve around the Enveloping Webs and Gossamer Burst abilities. Sennarth applies the Enveloping Webs debuff to certain players roughly every 30 seconds. This causes affected players to drop Sticky Webbing along the floor every second for 6 seconds. Coming into contact with the webs applies the Sticky Webbing debuff onto players, which helps avoid the sliding effect from Icy Ground. The Sticky Webbing debuff can also be used to avoid the pull effect of Gossamer Burst, which is cast twice per phase. It is important to note that classes with teleports or strong mobility can negate the pull effect from Gossamer Burst without the Sticky Webbing debuff.
Acquire the Sticky Webbing debuff by stepping in a web before Gossamer Burst is cast
As the raid ascends to the top of the chasm, Frostbreath Arachnid and Caustic Spiderling adds must be dealt with. The Arachnid is a priority kill target due to both its Chilling Aura and Freezing Breath effects. However, the Caustic Spiderlings do not have as much health and can be AOE’d/cleaved down passively for the most part; their only threatening ability is Caustic Eruption, which removes webbing from the ground but may also be used to removeWrapped in Webs from players.
Caustic Eruption can be used to break webbed players and damages anyone within 5 yards
Phase 2 begins around the 5-minute mark once the raid reaches the top of the chasm. The boss lands on the platform and begins to cast a handful of new abilities. Pervasive Cold acts as a “hard enrage” due to its stacking nature, which is further amplified by the effects of Chilling Blast and Icy Ground that carry over from Phase 1. Periodically, Suffocating Webs are cast, wrapping players in webs upon the debuff expiring. Much like in Phase 1, raid teams can strategically kill Caustic Spiderlings on top of wrapped players to break the effect early via Caustic Eruption.
However, the most threatening ability during this phase is Repelling Burst, which the boss casts at 100 energy. To avoid being knocked off the edge of the map, players should position themselves carefully. Otherwise, certain death awaits.
Sennarth lands in phase two with a handful of new abilities
Overall, Sennarth felt a bit undertuned on Heroic. It seemed like her “climbing phases” were time- based, and we reached the pinnacle with the boss around roughly 20%. For our raid group on the Dragonflight Beta, this meant that there was not much time to see her final phase abilities before we were already collecting loot. The fight will certainly favor classes that can cast spells on the move without losing much damage, but it was also pretty rough with pet AI. Player pets were often seen floating in the middle of the room or climbing an invisible staircase to reach the boss once she ascended further. The fight itself did not feel too complicated — more gimmicky compared to other bosses we have tested. Regardless, with Sennarth’s placement being early in the Vault of the Incarnates boss order, I don't expect it to be too troubling in terms of progression.
The Primal Council
The Primal Council is one of the earlier encounters in Vault of the Incarnates. It is a 4-target council-cleave fight, similar to Prototype Pantheon from Sepulcher of the First Ones.
Each boss of the Primal Council casts an elemental ability that can be countered by an opposing elemental ability from a different boss. While this may sound relatively simple, each boss is active from the start, and killing one boss before the others triggers a unique ability that the raid must deal with for the remainder of the encounter.
Bosses are active from the start and represent different element types
Upon reaching 100 energy, Kadros Icewrath casts Primal Blizzard, which causes him to channel a Freezing Storm for 10 seconds. This effect stacks and increases the raid’s frost damage taken by 10% every second while also reducing fire damage taken by 10%. Players that reach 10 stacks of Primal Blizzard are frozen within a Frost Tomb until broken.
Raid members will become frozen without clearing Primal Blizzard
Additionally, Kadros casts Frost Spike at random players, which deals moderate damage but can be interrupted. Upon defeat, Kadros casts Glacial Convocation until the remaining council members are defeated. Thankfully, both Glacial Convocation and Primal Blizzard can be removed by an ability from another boss called Scorched Earth.
Embar Firepath is the fire-based elemental boss. She casts Meteor Axes every so often. This ability hurls two axes at random players, dealing split damage between all targets.
The Meteor Axe soak does less damage when split between players
The effect also leaves the Scorched Ground effect on the floor, giving players a way to clear their Glacial Convocation or Primal Blizzard stacks from Kadros.
Scorched Earth can be used to clear Primal Blizzard debuffs
Upon reaching 100 energy, Embar infuses her axe with power and cleaves the active tank with Slashing Blaze. If Embar is defeated before the other council members, Burning Convocation is cast which brings with it volleys of fire every 4 seconds inflicting moderate damage and applying a dot effect until the remaining members are defeated.
Opalfang is the earth-based elemental boss that periodically casts Earthen Pillar. This ability causes large pillars of rock to erupt from the ground that deal moderate damage to any player hit by the effect, and knocks them back. While players will want to leave some of these Earthen Pillars active to remove Conductive Marks, an ability applied by Dathea (the storm-based boss), Embar’s Meteor Axe can be used to remove excess pillars if need be. Crush will be cast every so often which deals a large amount of physical damage and stacks, essentially a taunt swap mechanic. Quaking Convocation will be cast if Opalfang is defeated before other council members which sends multiple lines of “rippled” earth at players. The ability deals a small amount of damage but interrupts spellcasting for 4 seconds, which can be quite punishing.
Earthen Pillars can be used to clear Dathea’s Conductive Marks
The final member of the primal council is Dathea Stormlash, and she brings a handful of storm-based abilities. As mentioned above, Dathea applies Conductive Mark, which is likely to be the most threatening ability for larger raid groups to manage, as it places a circle debuff on random players that deals nature damage for 20 seconds and stacks. This effect can be spread to other players if they come within 5 yards of a debuffed player.
Avoid cleaving other players with Conductive Marks
Thankfully, the Earthen Pillars from Opalfang can be used to remove the Conductive Mark debuff by simply moving near affected players, essentially “grounding” the lightning effect.
Dathea casts both Lightning Bolt (which can be interrupted) and Chain Lightning. Both spells deal mild to moderate damage and must be healed through. If Dathea is defeated before other council members, she will cast Storming Convocation, which summons tornadoes around the room that must be dodged. Players who participated in Shadowlands Mythic+ may already be accustomed to this type of mechanic thanks to the Storming affix.
In beta testing, The Primal Council seemed relatively close to being a good encounter. My raid group felt that there was a bit of mechanical overload with some boss abilities overlapping at odd points during the fight. It felt like the Conductive Marks spawned a bit too often at the start of the encounter, making it more punishing to raid groups of a larger size. However, being able to kill a boss quickly and not have it heal back to full health (unlike Prototype Pantheon) was really interesting, as it opens up many different possibilities for early strategies in a progression setting. While we don't expect The Primal Council to be too challenging early on, this certainly feels like a boss where tuning will make or break the encounter.
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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.