In a continuing effort to educate the community on how Retribution Paladins should approach fights that pose specific difficulties to the class, E4AE proudly presents another "Boss Spotlight!" In today's crosshairs: the Illidari Council.
The Illidari Council is the 8th boss of Black Temple, and is the final stepping stone on a raid's path to Illidan and legendary loots. This group of 4 Blood Elves are comprised of Gathios the Shatterer (ret paladin), High Nethermancer Zerevor (tri-spec mage), Lady Malande (holy/disc priest), and Veras Darkshadow (rogue of supreme annoyance). Each have their own set of abilities, and they share a collective health pool. Once you kill one of them, they all die.
Why are we talking about this boss?
The Council fight has been referred to by many as the "Super Bowl of not standing in things." You know how there are fights every now and again where random stuff spawns on the ground or overhead and you need to not stand in it? Supremus's volcanoes, Al'ar's flame patches, Gruul's cave-ins, Rage Winterchill's Death & Decay ability... these ringing any bells?
Well, if you love that fight mechanic, you're in for a treat. In the Illidari Council fight, there are no less than 3 separate AoE abilities for you to dip, duck, dive and dodge! The mage's Flamestrike and Blizzard, and the paladin's Consecration are all very dangerous and can kill anyone who is not constantly aware of his or her surroundings. You don't need to know everything about this fight to do your duties as a ret paladin, but if nothing else, you need to know when the AoE's are happening, and what they look like.
What to do when facing Illidari Council
The job of a ret paladin in this fight is simple on paper: kill the paladin, Gathios. Each of the other mobs in this fight are melee-unfriendly - the mage has an Arcane Explosion that he casts when people get too close, the priest has a reflective shield that will toss damage back at the attackers, and the rogue vanishes periodically, making him hard to continuously target. The paladin, in comparison, has a "wimpy" Consecration ability that he uses every so often. So, the DPS'ers are punished the least when attacking him, despite his considerably higher armor. Of course, it's not quite so basic as "smash the pally."
The pull will most likely start with either you or one of your fellow paladin's casting a Blessing of Protection on one of the raid's mages, who will then get the attention of the Council and begin mage-tanking the mage mob. From there, tanks will grab the other three Elves. You will make a bee-line to Gathios, stick Judgement of the Crusader on him, and beg other paladins to apply JoL and JoW. As soon as an aggro lead is established, feel free to pop your cooldowns/trinkets and really lay into Gathios - it's a long fight (8-15 minutes, depending on your guild's DPS and coordination), so you'll be able to use your wings 2-4 times if you start early. *Special note: if you're paying attention to Gathios's buffs, wait until his Devotion Aura fades to pop cooldowns when you can - it ups his armor considerably, so you'll see better results if you hit 'im hard while his armor is lower.
Gathios is definitely not tank-and-spank, however. His Consecration ticks hard, for over 2k per second. It has the same coloration, animation, and range as your Consecration - as such, do not use Consecration on this fight. If you let loose with your own Consecration ability, you are going to freak out your tank and the other melee and they'll think it's Gathios's. Don't be that guy. Make sure when you see Gathios use his Consecration to disengage and move out of it's range, and then re-engage when the tank has moved out of the Consecration.
In addition to not standing in Consecration, you must watch your feet and your head for mage abilities. High Nethermancer Zerevor will use his Blizzard and Flamestrike abilities with reckless abandon, and can target anywhere in the room with them. Their animations are just like a player character's ability animations, so they will be recognizable. If you see shards of ice falling on your head, or the ground underneath you turn a lovely shade of red, haul ass away from the area. Step out of range of the affected ground patch, maneuver around the danger, and then re-engage Gathios when the tank is in a safer area.
There are other random damage abilities flung around by the boss mobs - the rogue uses Envenom and the priest has a holy spell + DoT (Divine Wrath) that hurt like all get-out. If you ever find yourself low on HP, whether it be from one of these or because you were a dumb-dumb and didn't move quickly enough out of an AoE, use your health pots or healthstones. With Consecration and Exorcism not in your ability cycle, and with the random damage (and subsequent Spiritual Attunement return from heals) you will take during the fight, I'd be surprised if you ever saw your mana pool fall lower than 85%. Your mana potions are useless here, don't be afraid to gulp down a red one.
Lastly, be ever-mindful of your positioning. Since the tank will be moving Gathios around fairly frequently, always make sure that when you re-engage him, you are attacking from the back. He can hit fairly hard, and a lot of the healers will be split up and assigned to different people, so extra damage from a parry-hasted attack is wholly unnecessary and possibly fatal to the tank.