Awakened Affix Tips & Tricks

The regular Weekly Route articles will resume in a few weeks, once the Race for World First is over!

This week, the end of dungeon rewards from Mythic Plus are no longer capped to 445, and will increase all the way up to item level 465 from Keystones level 15 or higher. However, if you step inside a key at level 10 or higher, you’ll have to deal with the new seasonal affix, Awakened! This is a complicated affix with infinite possibilities for creativity, but for your first few keys, we’ve created this article to equip you with the information you absolutely need to know about the affix.

Table of Contents

The Basics [back to top]

Awakened adds four obelisks to each dungeon, at fixed locations, each with a different name, and each of which is tied to a different Lieutenant of N'Zoth. You can interact with each obelisk, only while out of combat, to phase into N'Zoth’s twisted realm, where you’ll have to fight a different Lieutenant of N'Zoth. Each Lieutenant also casts Armies of N'Zoth, which summons a different set of adds for each of them.

When a Lieutenant dies, its corpse and the obelisk from which it came both turn into two-way portals that you can use to enter or exit N'Zoth’s realm, but again only while out of combat. Awakened Lieutenants DO give count but the small adds they summon do not. They are unaffected by most affixes, including Fortified and Tyrannical, though they do scale with Keystone Level and global affixes like Grievous still apply.

For each dungeon, the obelisks themselves spawn in the same four places each week, though there are two patterns of which obelisk spawns in which location, and every two weeks the pattern swaps. This is a refreshing departure from Beguiling and Infested, which had three different patterns that changed weekly and dramatically impacted the way you could approach the dungeon.

Each Lieutenant you don’t kill during the dungeon will engage you when you pull the last boss, which can overwhelm the group very quickly, but with proper planning some of the Lieutenants are potentially reasonable to engage with the last boss.

The Spider [back to top]

Voidweaver Mal’thir is The Spider. It spawns from the Cursed Spire of N'Zoth, and the adds it summons are Explosive Scarabs. These Scarabs aren’t too much of a problem - every few seconds one of them will start a channel which will destroy the scarab when it finishes, and damage and poison anyone nearby.

The Spider itself alternates between two casts, Crippling Pestilence and Lingering Doubt. These leave behind a movement speed reducing Disease or a casting speed reducing Curse, but they also do substantial up-front damage. Luckily, this cast is interruptible, and three melee kicks or two melee kicks and two ranged kicks are enough to stop any of them from going off. You do need to kick fairly late in the cast window to be able to interrupt them all with those kick setups.

This enemy is one of the safest to engage with the last boss, as long as that boss doesn’t require interrupts, though it’s also easy to fight in N'Zoth’s realm.

The Blob [back to top]

The Blood of the Corruptor is The Blob. It spawns from the Defiled Spire of N'Zoth, and the adds it summons are Mindrend Tentacles. These are very dangerous, as they channel a damaging and slowing beam on random party members. The tentacles are interruptible and stunnable, but they will not normally move so they’re hard to group up for AoE Crowd Control effects. However, it is possible to force them to move, as if everyone runs out of range they will teleport to you and stack up nicely.

An advanced tactic to avoid fighting these nasty tentacles altogether is using someone with a vanish effect to pull them away from the Obelisk and then drop combat with them far away, as they won’t return. Here’s a clip of this strategy in action from Squishei.

The Blob itself has only one mechanic, Defiled Ground, a damaging zone it creates under itself and under random party members. This disappears when The Blob dies, so it’s the other Lieutenant we believe to be fairly safe to fight with the last boss of the dungeon, as long as you’re not fighting that boss in a confined space. This has the added benefit of completely negating the Mindrend Tentacles, as the Armies of N'Zoth do not spawn when Lieutenants are pulled with the boss.

The Fearer [back to top]

Samh’rek, Beckoner of Chaos is The Fearer. It spawns from the Entropic Spire of N'Zoth, and the adds it summons are Ravenous Fleshfiends. These adds apply a stacking bleed to the tank, which can quickly get out of control. Unfortunately, if you kite them, they’ll instead bite anyone who gets within melee range, so if you do need to kite, everyone else needs to get out of range of them too! Force of Nature, from Balance Druids, is powerful here as it allows your tank to reset stacks without having to kite.

The Fearer itself, as you may have guessed, is all about its Fear ability - Cascading Terror. This applies Magic debuffs, of different durations, to three members of the party. If the debuff expires before it’s dispelled, the affected player and anyone in a small circle around them take a chunk of damage and are Feared for three seconds. Effects like Tremor Totem, Mass Dispel, and Warlock Imp Dispel are useful here, as is the healer’s own Magic dispel, which should generally be used on the Tank as a first priority if they’re affected.

These fears add a lot of damage and the loss of control can cause problems on many boss fights, so this is a Lieutenant that is rarely safe to fight at the end of the dungeon.

The Tankbuster [back to top]

Urg’roth, Breaker of Heroes is The Tankbuster. It spawns from the Brutal Spire of N'Zoth, and the Armies of N'Zoth it summons are Malicious Growths. These pollute the ground around them with a slowing effect, but otherwise do nothing and are safe to ignore if you don’t need the space they spawn in.

The Tankbuster itself casts Spirit Breaker every 15 seconds if the tank is in melee range, which does a massive chunk of Physical damage and increases all damage the target takes by 100% for 8 seconds. This damage is not blockable, dodgeable, or parryable, but it is reduced by armor. From best to worst, let’s talk about how different tanks handle this:
  • Brewmaster Monks stagger the hit, which means they’ll require a lot of healing during it but can otherwise survive it without being one-shot. They are by far the best tank for handling this ability, and can also easily kite if needed.
  • Guardian Druids have a relatively easy time, as their Ironfur is effective at mitigating the hit. They can also kite indefinitely with Travel Form.
  • Vengeance Demon Hunters gain armor with either Metamorphosis, Demon Spikes, or ideally both, and while these are active they can survive with the debuff. If neither Demon Spikes nor Meta are available, the Demon Hunter will absolutely need to kite, but they have a fairly easy time doing this.
  • Protection Paladins gain armor with Shield of the Righteous, so they can mitigate the initial hit and heal themselves afterward with Light of the Protector. They have a tough time kiting if that’s needed, but they have many defensive cooldowns that should make it unnecessary.
  • Protection Warriors rely on Blocking to mitigate incoming damage, which they cannot do against the initial hit of Spirit Breaker. They can kite fairly well, but they will probably have to unless they want to pop multiple defensives to survive the heavy damage.
  • Death Knights struggle to survive in the seconds following the initial hit and will likely require cooldowns to live. They also have a hard time kiting, so really suffer the worst of both worlds.

Regardless of who your tank is, effects like Force of Nature or other members of the groups using an immunity and a taunt are extremely powerful here. Pet taunts are extremely strong too, and can be used to answer every single Spirit Breaker. The Tankbuster’s only other mechanic is Dark Fury, which is a 3-second cast that damages anyone in a medium-sized circle around it.

The combination of Area denial from Dark Fury and the massive damage on the tank, as well as the damage taken increase, make this one of the harder Lieutenants to engage with the last boss.

Conclusion [back to top]

Awakened looks like an amazing affix, for which clever groups will be able to make creative strategies based on their composition’s strengths and weaknesses. Groups without a Rogue should now be much less hindered, as Awakened can be used to create budget Shrouds through the most dangerous parts of most dungeons. There are infinite possibilities for advanced strategies, such as using Mass Entanglement and a vanish effect to move enemies away from an Obelisk to allow the group to use it without clearing the nearby enemies, as seen in this clip from theShiftmage.

For your first few runs, however, the most important thing is understanding the basic mechanics of the affix, and having a plan for those abilities that are the most dangerous, which is what this article has tried to arm you with. Look for more advanced strategies to be highlighted when The Weekly Route returns after the Race for World First is over!


About the Author

Dratnos hosts the The Titanforge WoW Podcast. He’s also an Officer in the guild poptart corndoG. He plays many different specs in raid, but loves playing all three Rogue specs in Mythic Plus, and creates guides to them along with other content on his YouTube channel. He streams on Twitch, where he likes to review his friends’ logs.