Archavon the Stone Watcher is a raid boss inside Wintergrasp Fortress, available only while your faction controls Lake Wintergrasp. The portal is inside the fortress sanctum behind the large Titan Relic and various Battleground portals. Archavon drops individual loot pieces matching either 10-man Tier 7 quality or 25-man Tier 7 quality (depending on whether you fight him on Heroic or Normal mode). He can also drop, in place of Tier 7 pieces, Gladiator pants, chests, or gloves from the matching tier: Hateful Gladiator on Normal mode and Deadly Gladiator on Heroic mode.
Note: Archavon does not drop Tier tokens, but instead drops individual loot pieces, meaning that all classes should be represented in each raid so that no loot is wasted.
Archavon is an introductory boss that can be attempted by players nearly “fresh out of the gate” at level 80. While a raid full of players in greens will have difficulty killing Archavon before his berserk timer, a raid equipped mostly in dungeon and Heroic blues (with a few scattered epics here and there) shouldn’t have trouble downing this boss. It’s important that a raid with less gear bring sufficient healers (7-8 if your gear level is low, as compared to the 5-6 suggested below) and that the tanks be as well-geared as possible. At a minimum, tanks should have around 25,000 hit points before buffs, and need to be defense capped.
Archavon is a fairly easy boss, and can be attempted with nearly any raid composition as long as the players involved are competent and understand the mechanics of the fight. Two tanks are required on both Heroic and Normal modes, and 5-6 healers are recommended on Heroic mode, while 2 is enough for Normal mode. The rest of the raid should be composed of DPS classes, and a decent mix of melee and ranged is advised (the fight as a whole favors ranged DPS because of Archavon’s abilities, but a few melee in the raid is completely fine). As noted above, each raid should try to include one of each class so that no loot drops are wasted – this is obviously more difficult in a 10 person raid, but any good 25 man should have a reasonable spread.
There are four of these Warders in the instance who must be killed before you can approach Archavon. They have three special abilities:
Whirl: This is a whirlwind attack on a 2.5 second cast timer. When the cast finishes, anyone in melee range will be struck for ~25 000 physical damage (13 000 in 10 man). Melee classes should run away to avoid being slaughtered by this ability. It’s easy to avoid!
Shield Crush: The warder uses this ability on the tank. It does ~50 000 physical damage mitigated by armor (25 000 in 10 man), knocks the main tank back 20 yards, and increases physical damage taken by 300%. As soon as the main tank is knocked back by this ability, the off tank should Taunt the Warder so that the main tank is not killed while he has the Shield Crush debuff, which lasts 10 seconds.
Rock Shower: Creates a shower of falling rock with an 8 yard radius somewhere in the area. The rocks last 20 seconds and deal 5000 physical damage per second (2500 in 10 man) to anyone caught in them. Everyone should vacate the area quickly!
These mobs are simple to fight and should die within a single round of their Shield Crush ability. If you see a tank knocked back more than once on a single Warder pull, it is a sign that your DPS is quite low and you might have trouble killing Archavon before his Berserk timer.
Archavon has about 10 million hit points on Heroic mode, and 2.5 million hit points on Normal mode.
Melee DPS: Archavon melees for between 4.5-6k on a warrior tank (3-5k in 10 man), depending on gear level. His melee swings are fairly slow; about every 2 seconds.
Berserk Timer: Archavon has a Berserk timer of 5 minutes on both Heroic and Normal mode. This Berserk causes him to do 900% more damage with all of his attacks, which will cause all of his abilities to swiftly kill anyone in the raid, not to mention one-shot -kill almost any tank.
Ability Timers: All of Archavon’s abilities have a cooldown, and Archavon typically will use each ability (or ability combo) within 5-15 seconds of the cooldown being cleared. This means it is not always possible to predict which ability Archavon will use next. If the cooldowns for all of his abilities are clear, then he will choose them at random.
Rock Shards: This has a 15 second cooldown. Archavon will randomly target a player in the raid and shower a large number of rock pellets onto them, dealing ~20 250 physical damage over 3 seconds. Archavon fires 9 shard groups per second for 3 seconds, at ~750 physical damage per volley. This damage is mitigated by armor:
- Cloth classes should expect ticks of ~550 for a total of ~15 000 (~10 000 in 10 man).
- Leather and mail wearers will get ticks of ~400-500 for a total of ~12500 (~8300 in 10 man).
- Plate wearers will get ticks of ~350 for a total of ~9500 (~6300 in 10 man).
This damage *cannot* be avoided by the targeted player. If the player targeted by the spell moves, the Rock Shard rain will move with him until it is finished. However, other players standing in the area of effect of the shards will also take damage, and should move away from the targeted player to avoid the rain. The radius of effect is 5 yards around the targeted player, meaning that no other ranged DPS should get hit, while other melee should quickly get away from the targeted person so they don’t also take a bunch of damage (if the entire melee stack gets hit by Rock Shards it can be difficult for an undergeared raid to heal through).
Crushing Leap / Choking Cloud: This has a 30 second cooldown. Archavon will randomly target a player and leap onto them. This leap hits anyone within 10 yards of the targeted player, dealing 8000 physical damage and knocking all affected players back 30-35 yards. This damage is mitigated by armor:
- Cloth classes can expect around 6k damage (3750 in 10 man).
- Leather and mail wearers will receive between 4-5k (2.5-3k in 10 man).
- Plate wearers will get somewhere under 4k damage (2.5k in 10 man).
The leap also leaves a large Choking Cloud at the point where Archavon lands, with a radius of 10 yards. This gray cloud will deal ~3000 nature damage per second (2000 in 10 man) to any player caught in the area of effect and reduces their chance to hit by 50%. This cloud persists in the area for 30 seconds. All players should immediately move out of the affected area. Archavon will normally run back to the tanks after using this ability, however he can stop and fire a Rock Shard rain at a player before returning to the tank. In either case, the tanks should not move and let Archavon return to them naturally, rather than charging over to join him in the damaging Dust Cloud. The raid members knocked back should find new positions spread out from the rest of the raid. Once the Choking Cloud has faded, they can return to their normal positions, but Archavon will simply cast another Leap/Cloud combo at that point, displacing a few other members of the raid group. This ability means that flexibility and on-the-fly adjustment in positioning is key to this encounter.
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Stomp/Impale: This has a 45-second cooldown. Archavon will stomp the ground, stunning all players within 60 yards for 2 seconds and dealing ~8000 physical damage (4000 in 10 man) to each player as well (Note: this physical damage ignores armor, unlike Archavon’s other abilities). As he does this he will “lunge for” the main tank, Impaling the MT on his spiked fist and taking him out of the fight for 8 seconds, as well as reducing his threat to zero. When he does this, threat will fall to the offtank, who should be second on threat at all times to prepare for this ability. Because of the stun, it is hard for the offtank to Taunt before Archavon lunges for the MT and then kills the next person on the threat meter. The off tank should be second on threat at all times (tanking strategy is discussed in more detail below).
Special note on Impale: The Impale also does ~50 000 physical damage (30 000 in 10 man), before mitigation, to the tank. This typically hits a protection warrior for 10-16k depending on gear and buffs (7-11k in 10 man), and is healed up by various HoTs while the tank is Impaled. The Impale ability also lists a damage-over-time effect, but this damage is not applied to the MT while Impaled; this is possibly a coding bug caused by the “pet code” used to Impale the MT on Archavon’s fist. In any case, special effort should be taken to not let the MT fall below 15k life where an Impale could kill him.
Engage Archavon and burn him down while dealing with his raid damage, as usual.
The tanks should tank Archavon against the back of his circular “room” and have the remainder of the raid spread out behind him. Positioning on this fight is flexible; it is only important that the healers have range on the rest of the raid, and that people avoid clumping up due to the AoE nature of Rock Shards and Crushing Leap/Choking Cloud. A diagram is included just as an example, but each raid should feel free to adjust as they see fit. The most important thing is to have each ranged DPS or healing raid member stay 10 yards away from every other person in the ranged group so that a Rock Shards volley won’t hit anyone else.
As noted above, Archavon will always be using his Leap/Cloud combo every 30 seconds or so. This means that there is almost always a Choking Cloud somewhere in the room, changing locations every 30 seconds. Because of this, it’s important to keep the positioning of the ranged DPS and healers flexible. The raid should be able to adjust their positions during the fight to account for the “missing space” created by the deadly Choking Cloud, and still have enough space for everyone to be spread out from each other.
On Heroic mode, 2-3 healers should be assigned to the tank, while the rest cover incidental raid damage from Rock Shards and Dust Cloud. Tank healers should watch for the “Archavon lunges for [Main Tank]” emote so they know when to switch their healing to the off tank. On Normal mode one dedicated healer should be enough to heal the MT, with help from one of the other healers if the tank or healers are undergeared. Healing on this fight depends more on the rest of the raid avoiding Choking Clouds and the Rock Shards of their fellow raid members than anything the healers do. Keep the tank alive and everyone else topped off.
Players with DPS classes have a similarly easy job for this fight. DPS players have 4 things to be aware of:
1. Get out of Choking Cloud right away. The Cloud deals a lot of damage, and causes strain on healers if too many people are caught inside it. Most players will be knocked away from it by Archavon’s Crushing Leap anyway, but still make it a point to avoid the gray clouds on the floor! If you are melee, don’t run over to Archavon while he is standing in a Cloud; you’ll probably die.
2. If you are targeted by Rock Shards, stand still. If someone near you is targeted by Rock Shards, move away from them. This will limit the Rock Shards damage to one person at a time, making healing it much easier for your healing team.
3. Make sure that you don’t pass the offtank in threat. While one of the tanks is Impaled, there will only be one tank, but when both are tanking you want to let them both have their threat lead. Since the tanks can Taunt off each other to “leapfrog” threat, it’s not usually hard for the 2 tanks to stay on top; but if you pass the off tank you risk getting killed when Archavon Stomps.
4. DPS Archavon as hard as you can. His Berserk timer is only 5 minutes, which is more than enough to kill him, but still not completely trivial for a 25 man raid, especially if a few of the DPS players aren’t paying attention because Archavon is “an easy boss.” Don’t slack off, and you will have no trouble with this.
Note: Use Bloodlust/Heroism at 20%. You only get one, and it’s best to get maximum benefit out of it by using all of it in Execute/Hammer of Wrath range (if your raid doesn’t have any DPS warriors or retribution paladins, then using Bloodlust/Heroism at the “caster execute range” of 35% is fine).
If DPS players follow the above rules, Archavon will die quickly and the job of the healing team will be very easy.
Tanks on this fight only really have two things to worry about.
The first is to realize that when Archavon uses his Leap/Cloud combo, the tanks should remain in place and let Archavon return to them naturally. Their threat lead should be high enough that ranged DPS can keep DPSing without fear of pulling aggro. Tanks should simply stand in place and Archavon will come back to them (he might stop to fire off a Rock Shards first. Don’t worry about this; just keep waiting). If the tanks charge over to Archavon after he leaps, all that will do is position him extremely close to a dangerous Choking Cloud, making it difficult for the melee to DPS safely and reducing your raid DPS on Archavon, which isn’t helpful.
The other requirement is that both tanks remain at the top of the threat meter at all times, both main tank and offtank. This is required because of how Archavon’s Stomp and Impale abilities work. Thankfully, Archavon is Tauntable, which makes executing this requirement quite simple.
When Archavon uses his Stomp/Impale ability combo, he picks up the main tank and carries him around for 8 seconds. The MT loses all of his threat, and Archavon will switch to the next person on his threat list. This must be the off tank before Archavon lunges, which means that the off tank should be second on threat at all times. Remember that Archavon will Stomp before each lunge, meaning that the off tank will be stunned and unable to Taunt when Archavon Impales the MT, so he needs to be second on the threat list in advance.
When Archavon releases the MT, he should return to tanking and Taunt Archavon back, placing him on top of the threat list with the off tank. The off tank should continue generating threat to remain second on the threat list in preparation for the next Stomp/Impale combo. Executed properly, tanking will never be an issue on this fight as long as both tanks remain on top of Archavon’s threat.
Congratulations on your victory! Archavon is on a 7 day reset timer (he was originally on a 3-day timer, but this was recently changed to a normal week lockout like the other raid instances in Wrath of the Lich King). He drops 2 Emblems of Valor (Heroic mode) or Emblems of Heroism (Normal mode) for everyone, in addition to his normal 4 or 2 loot drops. Finally, after the raid you can simply run out of the zone and there is a portal to Dalaran inside the Wintergrasp Fortress sanctum.