12 January 2009

Introduction to Obsidian Sanctum

We did three raids this weekend. Friday we ventured into Obsidian Sanctum again. Saturday we built a PuG for 25-man Archavon, and then kept a few for 10-man, though that one didn't complete before the Wintergrasp battle started. Sunday we put together a 10-man Naxx group and cleared the Spider wing again.

We've had a lot of luck clearing Obsidian Sanctum. It's not a terribly long raid, with three mini-bosses, some trash, and the black dragon Sartharion. The encounters are more complex than Archavon but less complex than Naxxramas. So this is a good entry-level raid. The neat thing about Obsidian Sanctum is that you can choose to add to the difficulty by not clearing all the mini-bosses first. More on the details in a moment.

The Info

Getting There

Appropriately for a dragon boss, this raid is found near Wyrmrest Temple. That will be your flight point and staging area. The temple has repairs, food, water, and reagents, so you can stock up mid-raid fairly easily.

The entrance to the instance is found in an area called the Chamber of Aspects. It's the basement of the temple. To get there, use your flying mount and move south out of the ground floor. There's a major rift that leads underneath the temple; descend into that and turn north to enter the Chamber of Aspects.

When you die, you'll start at the graveyard on the main floor of the temple. Just turn south and jump off the edge of the temple (in ghost form, of course). You'll fall into the rift and run right in.

There are a few instance portals here, but only the Obsidian Sanctum is active. It's the southernmost portal.

10-Man Raid Composition

Two tanks are needed. Your offtank will probably have the harder job, as he has to collect adds that spawn at random locations. For healers, this may be the first raid you'll do with only two, but take a third if you're just starting.

Melee DPS will be disadvantaged on Sartharion due to the lava waves, so if you're choosing, take ranged DPS first. However, melee can be just fine; they'll just have to be more aware than usual about their surroundings. It's good to have at least one AoE class to help deal with the adds.

Fire resist gear can be a bit helpful, particularly for the tanks. Just don't stack too much at the expense of your other stats.

Consult Be Imba! to see whether your stats are up to par. The raid is about on the same level as Naxx.

Instance Layout

When you portal in, don't move too far, as there are trash mobs fairly close. However, it's safe enough to buff up right by the portal. You start on the south side of the instance. In the center of the instance, you'll see Sartharion, on a rectangular island surrounded by lava. The three drake minibosses are on hills to the west, north, and east of Sartharion.

The handful of trash groups are scattered between the minibosses. There are also patrols with two huge dragonkin; time your pulls so that you only get the patrols when you're ready. The trash mobs don't have to be CC'd, but you'll want your two tanks to split them up if possible.

Watch for the lava rivers as you move around, they can damage you (though it's not really significant. You can mount up, though there's usually no point until all the trash is cleared.

Fight Mechanics

The mini-bosses aren't too tough to beat. They're dragons, with the typical breath weapon and tail lash, so the tank should turn them away from the raid. The trick to the fights come when the mini-bosses spawn a portal. All raid members, except the main tank and one healer should head through the portal to defeat the add before it emerges. When you enter the portal, you will phase out and see the add. They're fairly easy to burn down; when its dead you will be back with the mini-boss. You can also use the portal to escape — most useful if the main healer having a hard time healing the tank.

On the second mini-boss, Tenebron, we've never found it necessary to go into the portal. Just wait for the eggs inside to hatch and burn down the adds.

Sartharion himself is an interesting fight. You can read the WoWWiki guide and watch the video for details. The basic facts however are these:
  • The tank needs to grab Sartharion and turn him right-angle to the raid, so that he faces east-west.
  • Sartharion does a flame breath, so you need to keep everyone but the tank away from his head. He also does a tail whip; it doesn't hit for much but it does a 2-sec stun. That will be important because of the....
  • Lava waves. These form on either the west or east side of the island and move across. Raid members need to dodge the waves by finding gaps in them. These walls will do a big chunk of damage to anyone caught, so you need to avoid them.
  • Fire elemental adds will enter the fight; the offtank needs to pick them up. It's good to have DPS work to burn the adds down. If the adds are hit by the lava walls, they will enrage and do 400% damage, so you need to drag them to the gap too.
The key is the lava waves, and the gaps in them. The waves can form on either the east or west sides. The gaps are determined by which side the wave forms on, so the east-side gaps are always the same (and likewise for the west side). So if you know where the wave is forming, you know where to run.

X Drakes Up

As I mentioned earlier, you can try to kill Sartharion without killing all the mini bosses first. This will grant you an achievement, but it will also get you more loot. The problem is that each drake will grant extra abilities to Sartharion, so the fight gets a lot harder. I wouldn't recommend this for your first try, but as you get more comfortable with the fight, you can leave more drakes alive before attempting the boss.


The mini-bosses don't drop gear, but they do drop Emblems of Heroism. Make sure to loot them!

Sartharion drops loot like usual, of course, including the T7 glove tokens. He also drops the [Satchel of Spoils]. Every raid member should roll on this item. It will contain 5 [Emblem of Heroism] and a good amount of gold (~40g). The emblems are of course soulbound. You could in theory just share the gold, but we have left it with the winner of the bag.

Don't confuse the Satchel with the [Dragon Hide Bag]. That's a 22-slot bag that he also drops. Of course all raid members should roll on that as well (though you can only have one).

In the 10-man raid, "one drake up" will get you an extra iLvl 200 epic. "Two drakes up" also gets you an extra iLvl 213 epic, while "Three drakes up" adds the [Reins of the Black Drake].

It's a good raid to try out with your guild — simpler than Naxxramas but not as easy as Archavon. Give it a shot and have fun!

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