Shade of Aran
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Shade of Aran is a boss in the abandoned tower of Karazhan. He is the spirit of Nielas Aran, the father of Medivh — the previous occupant of Karazhan. He is located in the Guardian's Library, which is a small, circular room (about 45 yards in diameter) with one door that closes and locks as soon as the fight begins.
Shade of Aran is an optional boss. However, after he is defeated, a teleport to his room becomes available from <The Doorman>, and all trash mobs from The Curator to Aran (exc. one pack outside Illhoof's door) cease to respawn.
- Frostbolt – Three-second cast, 3500 to 4500 frost damage and four-second slow. Interruptible.
- Fireball – Two-second cast, 3910 to 5290 fire damage. Interruptible.
- Arcane Missiles – Five-second channeled spell that shoots five missiles, each dealing 1260 to 1540 arcane damage (6300-7700 total). Interruptible.
- Chains of Ice – Ten-second root, does not break on damage. Dispellable. Appears to be a chance on hit with frostbolt, similar to mage's Frostbite.
- AoE Counterspell – Ten-yard radius AoE around Aran, goes off very frequently with no warning, locks out schools of magic for 10 seconds.
All of Aran's basic spells have infinite range (even through walls — they hit anywhere in the instance) and are randomly targeted. Pets are valid targets for these spells, including the snakes from Snake Traps.
All slowing and root effects are dispellable (magic), and can be broken by the usual methods.
It is possible to interrupt and lock out all his basic abilities to the point where he starts to use his melee attack. He sometimes takes a swing even when not all his schools are locked. When meleeing, he uses a normal aggro table. This can cause problems, as he can move out of the center of the room and leave the raid out of position.
Arcane Missiles seem to be semi-intelligently targeted at the raid member with the lowest percentage health, but this may simply be a random effect.
Every 30–35 seconds, Aran uses one of his three special abilities (never the same twice in a row). The special abilities cannot be interrupted or locked out.
- Flame Wreath: Five-second cast which creates a fiery aura around three random characters for 20 seconds. When the auras are triggered by moving over them, they deal 3,000–4,000 fire damage to everyone in the room. They do not disappear upon Aran's death and can still be triggered after the fight.
- Circular Blizzard: Large AoE that moves slowly clockwise around the room. Deals 1313 to 1687 frost damage every two seconds and slows movement speed by 65%; does not hit the center of the room
- Magnetic Pull / Slow / Super Arcane Explosion: Pulls everyone to the center of the room and Slows them. This is followed by a ten-second cast Arcane Explosion that deals 9,000-11,000 damage in a 20-yard radius.
Conjured Water Elementals
At 40% health, the Shade of Aran summons four elite Conjured Water Elementals with 13,000 health. They shoot a constant stream of Waterbolts for ~1000-2000 damage and despawn after 90 seconds.
Polymorph / Drink / Pyroblast
At 20% mana or less (about 30k), Aran mass Polymorphs the entire raid, conjures some water, and starts drinking. After about ten seconds, or if his drinking is interrupted, the polymorph breaks and Aran does a pyroblast for 7000-7500 fire damage on the whole raid.
Shadows of Aran
After 12 minutes, he goes berserk and calls Shadows of Aran. They have various high-damage AoE abilities which wipe the raid within seconds. This is not a serious concern; the fight should never take that long.
The key to success here is survival. The Shade of Aran's basic attacks are not very dangerous, but the special attacks are deadly. Each raid member must pay attention to which attack is upcoming; nobody can sit back and just do their usual routine. Once everybody learns how to move (or when not to move), the fight actually becomes rather easy.
In order to avoid the Magnetic Pull/Arcane Explosion, everybody must run to the outer wall of the room; the Blizzard forces people towards the center (or the other side of the room); and Flame Wreath inhibits movement. Beyond this, casters want to stay outside the AoE silence, and classes with spell-interrupt abilities want to concentrate on what he's casting.
The encounter cannot be reset.
There seems to be a "safe zone" that provides good positioning for healers and ranged DPS during the encounter.
Drawing a 3x3 grid using the floor tiles around Shade shows four corners that are out of range of both the AoE counterspell as well as Blizzard. Although it's possible to find a safe spot there, Aran may move a little and thus put players there in the counterspell. The Blizzard may also sometimes affect these spots.
Blizzard has given no indication that they consider use of these safe spots to be an exploit.
Aggro is of almost no relevance, because Aran chooses his targets semi-randomly. Hence it is important to remember to replace all threat-reducing buffs, such as the Paladin's Blessing of Salvation, with something offensive instead. The tanks should wear damage-dealing gear. If the raid chooses not to interrupt arcane missiles, some arcane resistance can be useful. Everyone in the group should strive for at least 8,000 health after buffs. More is better. Even healers and ranged damage-dealers must be able to survive a wave of arcane missiles (7,000 damage), and everybody must be able to survive the Pyroblast (7,500 damage).
Aran's standard attacks (Fireball, Frost Bolt, and Arcane Missile) can all be interrupted. By interrupting his spells, the raid can influence how fast Aran spends his mana. This is important, because the Polymorph/Pyroblast (at 20% mana) and the Water Elementals (at 40% health) must not occur close to each other. When either health or mana reach the critical percentage, the other must be clearly away from the threshold.
For a raid new to this encounter (with comparably low damage output), it is advisable to interrupt only Arcane Missile, and let him freely cast Frost Bolt and Fireball. This will maximize Aran's mana usage, and thus the Polymorph/Pyroblast occurs early, well before he reaches 40% health. After the Pyroblast, the raid can interrupt any of his spells, to minimize damage taken.
If the raid's damage output is high enough that Polymorph/Pyroblast and Water Elementals happen close to each other even though only the Arcane Missiles are interrupted, it's time to switch to letting Aran cast the Missiles freely and interrupting Fireball and Frost Bolt. This conserves his mana, so that the Water Elementals occur first. If damage output is really high, the Polymorph/Pyroblast does not occur at all.
Fireballs and Frost Bolts should be interrupted near the end of their casting time, because he expends mana only at the end of the cast and does nothing else for nearly two seconds. Arcane Missiles should be interrupted early, as he spends the mana upfront anyway, and early interruption reduces the spell's damage output. It is useful to assign each player with an interrupt ability one type of spell. This avoids everybody interrupting at the same time and, therefore, having nobody left available to interrupt the next spell.
The following abilities interrupt a Shade of Aran cast:
- Rogues' Kick
- Warriors' Pummel and Shield Bash
- Shamans' Wind Shear
- Druids' Feral Charge
- Mages' Counterspell
- Warlocks' Spell Lock
- As of 3.0.2, paladins' Hammer of Justice and Death Knights Mind Freeze
The druid, mage, and warlock abilities have long cool-downs, and are thus not very effective. Note that the Shade is immune to the silence, daze, and root effects of some of these abilities, so casting them produces an "Immune" message. However, the abilities still interrupt the spell cast.
Rogues that have Gladiator's Leather Gloves, Merciless Gladiator's Leather Gloves, or Vengeful Gladiator's Leather Gloves equipped can interrupt Shade using their Deadly Throw ability. Opportunist's Leather Gloves, Grand Marshal's Leather Gloves, and High Warlord's Leather Gloves also work with doing this.
Particularly for healers: To save mana, it is generally a good idea to understand when an interrupt is successful and a heal is not needed. There are two ways to achieve this:
- Watch Aran's cast bar.
- Listen to distinctive sounds of interrupts.
Healers can improve their response time to (Fireball, Frost Bolt and Arcane Missile) with the macro:
/target Shade /cast [target=targettarget] Greater Heal
- Watching Shade's target and cast bar is also advisable.
This special attack materializes as a blue, translucent cloud on the floor that slowly moves clockwise along the outer perimeter of the room. It is trailed by a damaging Blizzard which fills up to half the room. The cloud and the Blizzard snare anyone caught in them. The Blizzard does not affect the center of the room.
Players in melee range to Aran normally do not have to worry about the Blizzard (as long they stay in the center of the room). Ranged classes should always keep a lookout for the cloud and run away clockwise (but avoid running into the tail of the Blizzard). When caught, players get snared and should immediately turn and move to the center of the room. The periodic AoE silence/counterspell there is the lesser of two evils.
If Flame Wreath is upcoming, the whole raid must immediately stop moving, simple as that. People must wait until the auras are clearly visible, and may only move again when they are sure they will in no way come near one of them. Melee'rs have a few seconds to move into melee range of Aran from the second Flame Wreath is announced and until he casts it; however, this requires some practice and careful timing.
The effect is triggered by the following:
- Player character movement
- Accepting a resurrection (Rebirth or Soulstone)
- Mages' Blink
- Druids' shapeshifting
- Shaman Elemental Totems (Fire Elemental Totem, Earth Elemental Totem)
The following do not trigger the effect:
- Spell casting
- Movement resulting from a spell cast (like Mind Flay for priests or Aimed Shot/Steady Shot for hunters)
- Paladins' Divine Shield
- Rogues' Cloak of Shadows
- Warrior's Whirlwind
- Nether Protection
Flame Wreath is confirmed to crit, having an estimated crit chance of 10-15%, dealing 7.000+ damage to the target.
Magnetic Pull / Slow / Arcane Explosion
Magnetic Pull can be avoided by standing behind one of the tables near the wall — players fixed there do not need to worry about the pull or the explosion at all.
All other raid members must immediately run to the outer edge of the room — no turning or finishing up an attack. Even with the slow debuff, everybody can reach the wall well before the Explosion.
If possible a priest in the raid should cast a Mass Dispel centered on the Shade immediately after Magnetic Pull. This automatically takes care of everybody reacting slowly and Chains of Ice. If Mass Dispel is not available (or the raid feels confident and wants to save priest mana), Priests and Paladins still should pay attention to slow reactions or Chains of Ice.
The Water Elementals can be banished, stunned, and feared; and are susceptible to Curse of Tongues. Crowd control, tank, and kill them quickly; they have only 13,000 HP each. It helps if the tank wears some frost-resistance gear. They despawn after 90 seconds. One warlock can keep two crowd controlled the entire time (fear and banish); with two warlocks, you can just keep all four of them crowd controlled until they despawn.
If the Elementals spawn at the same time as one of the special attacks takes place, it's difficult to control them properly. It is a good idea to control DPS and bring the Shade's health down to 40% at a time when there is no risk of a Flame Wreath, Blizzard, or Polymorph / Pyroblast.
Trinkets and abilities with cool-downs should be used when the Elementals spawn.
Polymorph / Pyroblast
If the raid's DPS is high enough and the interrupts work well, this phase may not occur at all. If it does, the healers have to be on their toes to heal the raid very quickly after the Pyroblast (preferably using AoE heals). The Polymorph breaks at the same time as Pyroblast is cast, so there's just the spell's travel time to cast something before it hits. This can only be effectively done by healers outside melee range. After the blast, all raid members should use health potions and Healthstones to heal quickly.
This Polymorph works on characters who are normally immune. Only druids in Tree of Life form remain unaffected. If Aran is interrupted while drinking, he simply uses a potion and Pyroblasts anyway. PvP insignias do not break the Mass Polymorph; only the Water Elementals may break sheep during this time. The Pyroblast can be interrupted.
If Aran reaches 20% mana again after the first Mass Polymorph, he does not Polymorph and Pyroblast again. He just drinks a potion and continues.
Tips for healers
Healing for this fight is noticeably different from the other encounters in Karazhan for two reasons:
- Healers must be far more in tune with their surroundings and move around like everyone else in the raid; this means they must be able to take their eyes off of everyone's health bars and become more situationally aware.
- There is no benefit to having a regular tank, which means all healers in the raid are raid healing.
The ability to heal while moving is very useful. Priests and Druids excel at this as they have several instant casts. Instant casts also have the major advantage that they cannot be counterspelled by Aran's AOE counterspell. Aran's counterspell is not continuous, so quite often you can get a flash heal or equivalent off, but attempting to cast a longer spell like Chain Heal, Greater Heal, or Holy Light when close to Aran is highly unrecommended as getting locked out of your healing spell school can be devastating.
Dispel Magic and Cleanse are important spells for this fight; be prepared to dispel anyone who is ice-chained and cannot move. This is especially critical if a Blizzard is going on at the same time. Dispel yourself and those around you when Aran does his Magnetic Pull.
If your raid is sheeped, be prepared to immediately start group heals the moment you are out of the polymorph. You may wish to coordinate with the other healers to pre-determine who heals which group for this.
It's important to have 8k HP, and PvP gear is a good way of getting this, but care should be taken because PvP gear is itemized for stamina and burst healing, and you may well find yourself running out of mana in a full PvP set.
Unlike Aran, the conjured elementals use a standard aggro mechanism, so if not attacked or controlled they will very quickly lock on to healers. For your own sake, ensure your raid has a plan to deal with them. The elementals are vulnerable to most forms of CC, so self-defense mechanisms like Psychic Scream will work on an elemental that takes an interest in you.
- Please, no more! My son... he's gone mad!
- Who are you? What do you want?! Stay away from me!
- I will not be tortured again!
- Flame Wreath
- Burn you hellish fiends!
- I'll show you this beaten dog still has some teeth!
- Back to the cold dark with you!
- I'll freeze you all!
- Arcane Explosion
- Yes, yes, my son is quite powerful... but I have powers of my own!
- I am not some simple jester! I am Nielas Aran!
- Low Mana/AoE Pyroblast
- Surely you would not deny an old man a replenishing drink? No, no I thought not.
- Summon Water Elementals
- I'm not finished yet! No, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve.
- Killing a player
- Torment me no more!
- I want this nightmare to be over!
- You've wasted enough of my time... let these games be finished"
- At last the nightmare is over...
- Where did you get that?! Did HE send you??
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Patches and hotfixes
- Patch 2.1.0 (22-May-2007): Nether Protection will no longer cause "Flame Wreath" to detonate.
- Hotfix (2007-03-06): "Flame Wreath will now allow players to remain in the flame wreath while under the effect of immunity granting abilities such as Divine Shield, etc."
- Patch 2.0.3 (09-Jan-2007): Added.