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Morchok is a relatively simple encounter made up of two alternating phases:
- The Crystal Phase, which lasts approximately 1 minute, is a tank and spank phase during which the raid is faced with two tasks (other than attacking the boss):
- the tanks need to regularly taunt the boss off of each other;
- a few players will have to soak the proximity damage done by crystals that the boss summons.
- The Black Blood Phase, which lasts approximately 30 seconds, requires your raid to hide behind pillars of stone (created during the encounter) to avoid being hit by the Black Blood flowing out from Morchok.
Finally, at 20% health, Morchok gains the Furious buff. This does not affect the alternation between the Crystal Phase and the Black Blood Phase: the fight continues normally, just that the boss deals more damage and attacks faster. This is the ideal time to use Bloodlust/ Heroism/ Time Warp (during a Crystal Phase, not a Black Blood Phase).
The Crystal Phase is the main phase of the fight, during which your raid will mostly deal damage to Morchok while handling the few abilities that he possesses. This phase lasts for 1 minute, approximately.
During the Crystal Phase, Morchok has the following abilities:
- Crush Armor is a stacking debuff applied by Morchok on his tank every 6 seconds. It stacks up to 10 times and each stack reduces armor by 10%, eventually forcing a tank swap.
- Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man) is an AoE attack that Morchok casts every 10 to 15 seconds. It deals 750,000 physical damage in 10-man difficulty, 1,625,000 in LFR difficulty (though the tooltip says differently at the moment), and 2,500,000 in 25-man difficulty. The damage is evenly split between players within 25 yards of Morchok (though the 2 closest players take a double share of damage).
- Resonating Crystal is cast by Morchok every 15 seconds, approximately. This ability summons a red crystal that explodes after 12 seconds, dealing split damage to the 3 closest players in LFR and 10-man difficulties and the 7 closest players in 25-man difficulty. The total damage dealt by the explosion decreases when the players are close to the crystal (between 25,000 and 30,000 damage each if all players are standing close to the crystal when it explodes).
In addition, Morchok performs a melee attack on his current target every 2.5 seconds. This attack hits for approximately 30,000 in 10-man difficulty, 60,000 in LFR difficulty, and probably a bit more in 25-man difficulty. The damage of the melee attacks increases the more stacks of Crush Armor that the tank has.
The strategy for properly handling the Crystal Phase revolves around 3 simple tasks (which we further detail below):
- proper positions for dealing with Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man);
- tank swap for dealing with Crush Armor;
- have targeted players soak the damage from Resonating Crystal.
Other than that, this phase should be dedicated to doing as much damage as possible to Morchok.
Because of Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man), the raid should be positioned within 25 yards of the boss. There are no other positioning constraints, though stacking together, close to the boss, will make AoE healing more efficient.
Stomp deals a double share of damage to the two players that are the closest to the boss. It is best if these two players are the tanks.
The only players who will have to move out of the 25-yard radius are those that will have been targeted by Resonating Crystal.
Because of Crush Armor, the tanks will need to regularly taunt the boss off of each other. The debuff lasts 20 seconds and stacks every 6 seconds, which means that the taunt should occur as soon as a 4th stack is applied on the current tank.
Every 15 seconds (so 3 times per Crystal Phase), Morchok will summon a new crystal. Closest players (3 in 10-man difficulty and 7 in 25-man and LFR difficulties) will be easily identified by the beam of light that links them to the Crystal. The beam changes colour, depending on the distance between the player and the crystal (red/yellow when the player is far from the crystal and blue when the player is close).
After 12 seconds, the crystal will explode, knocking back the targeted players (provided that they have done their job and moved next to the crystal) and dealing damage to them.
Even though the beams initially target the closest players and it is possible to replace someone by simply moving closer to the crystal than they are. It enables more aware players to compensate for other players' lack of reaction.
To deal with Resonating Crystal, you can either have the closest players move to the Crystal when it spawns or have a set of designated players that will handle every Crystal that spawns.
- The combined damage of Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man) and the explosion of Resonating Crystalcan be dangerous for the targeted players. Healers should be especially careful of this situation, should it occur. There are two ways to avoid this:
- Morchok's tank can move him away from the crystal;
- Targeted players can stack next to the crystal, on the opposite side from Morchok, so that they exit the 25-yard radius (this is not always possible).
- Since the damage from the explosion of Resonating Crystal is Shadow damage, Affliction and Demonology Warlocks ( Shadow Ward), and Destruction Warlocks ( Shadow Ward + Nether Ward + Nether Protection) are particularly well suited to handle this ability. Using Shadow Protection or Resistance Aura is also useful.
- Healers can use abilities such as Power Word: Barrier and Spirit Link Totem (placed so that they cover the are around the crystal), or Aura Mastery, to reduce the damage that the targeted players take.
Black Blood Phase
Shortly after the explosion of the third Resonating Crystal, Morchok enters the Black Blood Phase, during which he casts 3 abilities in quick succession before resuming the Crystal Phase. Players will be pulled to Morchok before having to rapidly take cover to avoid a very damaging ability.
During the Black Blood Phase, Morchok casts 3 abilities in the following order:
- Earthen Vortex marks the beginning of the Black Blood Phase. All players are pulled towards Morchok and begin to take physical damage equivalent to 5% of their health every second for 5 seconds.
- Falling Fragments is cast immediately after all players have been pulled towards Morchok. This ability is channeled for 5 seconds and creates stone pillars around Morchok. Standing next to the location where a pillar is created deals 15,000 physical damage in 10-man and 25-man difficulties and 9,750 physical damage in LFR difficulty. You will notice that players hardly ever take damage from being too close to a pillar.
- Black Blood of the Earth is cast immediately after the channel of Falling Fragments has finished. For 24 seconds, Black Blood will flow outwards from Morchok. Players standing in it will receive a stacking debuff that disappears as soon as they step out of the blood. The debuff stacks every second and each stack inflicts 5,000 nature damage per second (3,250 in LFR difficulty).
The strategy for this phase is very straightforward. As soon as Morchok pulls the players to him, everyone needs to run behind the pillars of stone created by Falling Fragments, as they offer protection from Black Blood of the Earth. There is plenty of time to reach the pillars, so no one should take damage from the blood.
Once behind a pillar, there is no other source of damage until the Crystal Phase resumes. Therefore, healers should focus on getting behind a pillar before trying to heal those that are in range of them.
Ranged DPS can continue attacking Morchok while hidden from Black Blood of the Earth by a pillar. To do so, they need to hide behind a pair of adjoining pillars. This way, by positioning themselves in the middle of the two pillars, they will be able to hit Morchok.
This is the ideal time for healers to use mana regeneration cooldowns such as Hymn of Hope and Divine Plea, as from a healing perspective, there is nothing else to do during this time. Additionally, healers can use a Potion of Concentration during this phase, to further take advantage of the respite.
After defeating Morchok, you will reach Wyrmrest Temple (and gain access to various vendors present there, including two who can repair your gear). From here, you have a choice between two bosses: Warlord Zon'ozz and Yor'sahj the Unsleeping. To reach Zon'ozz you should use the drake located to the West, while Yor'sahj is accessed using the Eastern drake.
The heroic version of the Morchok encounter is, arguably, the easiest heroic mode in the Dragon Soul raid. This does not, however, mean that the fight is easy. You will find that the fight does not change very much from normal mode in its mechanics, but it puts a much greater strain on the raid as a whole.
Differences from Normal Mode
The differences between normal and heroic Morchok are simple.
- At 90% health, Morchok splits himself in two, and your raid has to fight both Morchoks at the same time (the other boss is called Kohcrom).
- Both bosses use the same abilities as Morchok does in normal mode, with the same frequency and in the same way.
- Crush Armor no longer exists, meaning that there is no need to tank switch on either of the two bosses.
- Morchok and Kohcrom have separate health pools, but every time you deal damage to one of them, both bosses take an equal share of damage (as was the case with Rhyolith's legs in Firelands).
- Both Morchok and Kohcrom place a debuff on their tanks each time they cast a Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man). This debuff lasts for 10 seconds and increases physical damage taken by 100%.
In addition to this, the bosses have more health, melee the tanks for more, and all of their abilities deal more damage.
Below, you will find the best strategy for defeating this heroic encounter, but first, a few preliminary mentions are needed.
Morchok and Kohcrom should be treated, for all intents and purposes, as two completely different bosses (although they behave identically).
The heroic mode part of the fight only truly begins after Morchok reaches 90% health. Until then, the fight is unchanged from normal mode. Because Morchok's health is not especially high, he will get to 90% health right around the time that he spawns the first crystal.
It is important that you clear as much of the trash mobs around the fighting area as possible, to give yourself ample room.
The raid composition does not necessarily change from normal mode. You will still want to bring two tanks, one for each boss. The number of healers you bring depends on how much healing you require and how much DPS you can afford to lose.
Bringing 4 healers in 10-man and 8 in 25-man will make the fight considerably easier. Keep in mind, though, that heroic Morchok has a rather tight enrage timer of 7 minutes.
Splitting the Raid
You should split your raid into two groups, as follows, and each group should handle one of the two bosses:
- in 10-man difficulty, 5 players per group: 1 tank, 1-2 healers, 2-3 DPS;
- in 25-man difficulty, 12 players in one group and 13 in another: 1 tank, 3-4 healers, 8-9 DPS.
- Rogues (thanks to Feint);
- Plate-wearing DPS class (thanks to their higher health pool and armor);
- Balance Druids (thanks to the damage reduction granted by Moonkin Form; in cases of necessity, they can also use Barkskin);
- Fire Mages (thanks to Cauterize, every 45 seconds or more).
The strategy for this fight is simple, although there are many subtleties and tricks that your raid should make use of, which we detail in a later section.. The difficult part is the Crystal Phase, with the Black Blood phase remaining relatively unchanged and extremely simple.
The start of the heroic mode happens when Morchok reaches 90% health, splitting in two. Prior to this, however, the fight is identical to the normal mode encounter, except that there is more damage from Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man). It should go by very quickly and without problems.
Depending on your raid's DPS, Morchok may cast the first Resonating Crystal right before reaching 90% health, and then split immediately after. If this happens, your raid leader will have to decide which of the two groups will soak the crystal (depending on where the crystal spawns).
When Morchok reaches 90% health, he will split in two. When splitting, Morchok will jump to a specific place (in the center of the road where you are fighting him) and effectively become two different bosses. The boss called Morchok will be on the right-hand side, and Kohcrom will be on the left-hand side, as you are facing Wyrmrest Temple.
The two bosses will remain stationary for around 5 seconds, before they can be moved by the tanks. Keep in mind that, during this time, threat is still generated normally against them, so DPS players should be careful.
Immediately after splitting, the two tanks must quickly move the two bosses far apart. After this point, the strategy for each of the two groups becomes simple (although very strenuous for healers), and can be summarised like this:
- Every player must always be within 25 yards of their group's boss, in order to share the damage from Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man).
- 3 players in 10-man difficulty and 7 in 25-man difficulty must handle the Resonating Crystals. You should decide ahead of time who these players will be.
- A designated player should be extremely close to the boss, in melee range, in order to soak the increased damage that Stomp deals to the closest two targets (the other target being the tank).
Each group will have to repeatedly soak crystals and survive the damage from Stomp, until the bosses go into the Black Blood Phase (they do this at the same time). This phase remains completely unchanged and should be dealt with as in normal mode. The damage that the black blood deals is extremely low, and players can afford to take many ticks from it without being in danger of dying.
Things to Watch Out For
Unlike in normal mode, it is crucial that the players handling Resonating Crystal always be within 25 yards of their boss. To ensure this, there are a few important, yet not very obvious things to watch out for:
- Whenever one of the bosses casts Resonating Crystal, its tank should move it close to the crystal (but not on the crystal), so that designated players can stack on the crystal while still being within 25 yards of the boss.
- If there is one or more melee DPS in the group of designated players, bringing the boss close enough will enable them to continue attacking it.
- In the event that the boss is not quite close enough to the crystal to allow players to stack on the crystal while being in a 25 yard range of the boss, the crystal soakers will first have to remain in range of the boss for the next Stomp, and then quickly move to the crystal (they should have around 5 seconds to do this).
When handling Resonating Crystals, players who are assigned to this task should make sure to position themselves on the side of the crystal that is towards the boss (so, between the crystal and the boss), so that the knock-back will push them towards the boss.
Also, the tank will have to make sure that they are the closest player to the boss at all times (second only to the other designated melee player).
Note that Morchok and Kohcrom do not use their abilities in exactly the same order or with the exact same frequency. Most importantly, while both bosses perform 4 stomps during each Normal Phase, Morchok spawns 3 Resonating Crystals, while Kohcrom only spawns 2.
Healing will generally be quite difficult. In particular, it will be extremely difficult at those times when a Resonating Crystal is preceded and followed by a Stomp. When this happens, all players should do everything that they can to survive (by using personal cooldowns or healthstones) and healers should attempt to use their own cooldowns.
Tanks should use their cooldowns (both major and minor) to help reduce the damage taken by Stomp (LFR/10-man/25-man) and the increased damage taken caused by the debuff applied after Stomps. Healers should also be on the look-out for increased tank damage at this time.
Furious and Bloodlust/Heroism
At 20% health, both bosses will gain the Furious buff, exactly like in normal mode. This will increase their damage and attack speed, making this last part of the fight extremely difficult.
Achievement: Don't Stand So Close to Me
The Don't Stand So Close to Me achievement is a part of the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider meta-achievement. The achievement requirement is very simple: defeat Morchok without any raid members being closer than 5 yards to one another during the Black Blood Phases. It is important to note that, for 25-man difficulty, the requirement is more lenient, namely that no 3 players be closer than 5 yards to one another, to account for the increased number of players.
There is no real "strategy" required for completing this achievement, other than good awareness and common sense. For 10-man raids, simply assign rough positions for every player (you can make use of raid markers for this purpose) and have them spread out around their designated areas.
In 25-man, you can do the same, with the added mention that you can pair players up together, so that you only have to deal with 13 locations instead of 25, as the achievement criterion is different, as stated above.